Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mango Chutney - Traditional Style

Last year I made some wonderful peach chutney.  I love it.   Seriously love it. 

I love it over cream cheese on crackers.  I love it even more on brie.   I love it poured over a pork roast and slow roasted for hours until the outsides are crispy.   I love it straight out of the jar with a spoon.

I pretty much thought I was a genius after I made that chutney.   It's some gooood stuff.

I've been thinking about chutneys a lot lately.   Chutneys came from India with strong flavors and textures and heat.   They usually have a fruit base, are heavily sweetened and then the sweet is balanced with vinegar.   I've seen chutneys flavored with cinnamon and cloves, and some with ginger, garlic and mustard.   I've seen chutneys heavy on the heat - with loads of red pepper flakes and some with just a whisper of heat.

In all my reading, the consensus is that a lot of traditional chutneys were made with mango and lime.  Heavy on citrus overtones. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, with lots of heat.   So I thought I'd play around.

The first thing I decided was that it needed heat, but not heavy heat.    I was thinking more along the lines of cat-in-your-lap kind of heat and not the white hot heat of a thousand suns.    I realize that right off the bat I've deviated from the traditional, but no one at my house would eat it if it is too hot.   We're pepper wimps. 

For citrus, I used the zest and juice of a lime, plus some lemon and orange juice for flavor. 

I used loads of garlic and an onion.

For spice, I used candied ginger, and cinnamon and cloves.  And for the sweet, I opted for brown sugar.  

I used white wine vinegar, because it's my own and I much prefer it over the apple cider vinegar that the vast majority of chutney recipes call for.   I used regular raisins instead of the golden ones that are traditional because that's what I had.    If you want to use golden raisins and cider vinegar instead, then go for it.   I'm sure it will be delicious.

One of the things I like best about chutneys is that they are a slow food.  

Slow.  Food.

You put it in a pot, heat it all together and the cook it until the flavors are melded and the color is dark and mysterious and delicious.   Take your time. 

Mango Chutney
  • 4 cups of mangoes, peeled and chopped [about 3 large mangoes]
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Put everything into a large pot and cook it down.   Start it on medium until you read a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer until it's the consistency you want.    It'll be good and thick if you let it cook down until when you scrape a spatula across the bottom of the pan, it leaves an empty space behind it for a couple of seconds before the juices crowd in again.  

When you're happy with it, ladle it into jars and process for canning.  Makes 3 pints.

Note:  Thick is in the eye of the beholder.    If it ends up runnier than you wanted, then use it over meat.   It's probably my favorite way to eat chutney.

To use it on meat, brown and season the meat with salt and pepper, then transfer it to an oven safe pot or pan.  Pour the whole pint of chutney over it and cook it uncovered at 300 degrees until your meat falls apart.   Delicious! 

2 comments:

  1. Sounds amazing! We don't eat chutney very much, but a friend gave me a jar of pear chutney once. I still haven't gotten in it because I never know what to put it on...so I'll try your crackers and cream cheese idea. :)

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