St. John Chutney

There is nothing finer, after having a good stock up your sleeve, than having a reserve of chutney.

Two updates in a month?  My goodness, the insanity!  Oh, that’s depressing now that I think about it. Let’s get to it before I start the inevitable downward spiral into self loathing.

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This recipe started last Saturday during the Manchester Derby.  While my allegiance is strongly elsewhere, any chance I can see the Scum beaten can’t be missed and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t entertaining. Back to the recipe, the chutney started off with me peeling and coring a couple pounds of apples…

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… followed by chopping the apple slices up into smaller chunks.

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Next I worked on chopping up a few pounds of Roma tomatoes. It seems like I’m making ketchup again, doesn’t it?

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Here’s where things took a new direction.  I peeled and minced roughly a half pound of fresh ginger…

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… and peeled a bunch of shallots. These were large shallots too, roughly half the size of a tennis ball. I have no idea where our markets are getting these monstrosities, but this is Texas. That might explain a few things.

At this point I threw all of the previous mentioned items into a stainless steel pot along with the following:

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1. Almost two pounds of brown sugar

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2. A bunch of raisins and dates.

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3. A cheesecloth bag full of black peppercorns, coriander seeds, white peppercorns, allspice, mace, bay leaves, celery seeds, cloves, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and whole chilies.

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All of the ingredients were places in the stainless steel pot, along with a fair amount of malt vinegar, and placed on a low heat for about an hour.

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Mr. Henderson warns against going too far and ending up with a “brown, jammy consistency” but the shallots I’d used were not fully softened because of their size. So I kept things going.  Eventually the shallots had softened, but I was fairly close to that jammy consistency that I’d been warned against.  If you make this recipe yourself, try finding smaller shallots that will soften quickly without compromising the integrity of the other ingredients.

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Quickly I moved the chutney into sterile jars and sealed as much of it as possible away for later use, per Mr. Henderson’s instructions.

Flavor wise, this chunky chutney is delightful with its fruity sweet/sour/savory nature all mixed together with a wallop of spice combination.  I love blathering on and on about flavors and such, it’s just tough to describe other than… it’s chutney.  A very fine, delicious chutney that you’ll have to try and make yourself if you’d like to understand where I’m coming from. Wow.

If you do decide to give this a go, you should try pairing it with grilled meats or as a side dish to various Indian dishes.  I even like to take a little, puree it and add it to mayo for sandwiches.

One down, thirty to go.

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