I didn’t grow up with chutney, but have come to love it as an adult. Enjoying chutney served in Indian restaurants was my first step. Then I bought chutney in jars to eat with home-cooked meals, and now I’ve moved onto homemade versions – definitely the best!
My first effort was a traditional tomato chutney from Madhur Jaffrey, whose Indian recipes (and cookbooks) are out-of-this-world. Encouraged by how wonderful fresh chutney tastes, how little effort it takes, and how versatile it can be, I ventured into new ingredients and combinations. Soon, I was using chutney in the most unexpected ways.
Re-reading that first paragraph makes me smile. It almost sounds as if I’m describing my spiral from a gateway drug to addiction. Of course that’s not true; this delightful condiment may be hard to resist, but it’s hardly illicit or problematic. So don’t worry – I won’t lead you down a garden path to doom.
In any event, you can tell why, when our host, Liz, chose apples for this month’s Progressive Eats theme, my thoughts turned to chutney.
The consistency of chutney can be as thick as jam or slightly looser, like homemade cranberry sauce. It need not be incredibly spicy, but it shouldn’t be sweet. My favorite chutneys use a variety of ingredients to provide a flavor best described as complex – aromatic and a bit sweet, with a spicy edge. The spices should meld together so that you probably can’t discern what each one adds, but you can definitely tell that there are several in the mix.
This apple and caramelized onion chutney combines elements of a traditional chutney with two of my favorite ingredients not typically found in chutney: slowly caramelized onions and spicy Dijon mustard. The inspiration for it was a mango chutney from Epicurious, reprinted from a book on small batch preserving by two Canadian home economists. Although the authors of that recipe sound less like Southeast Asian food experts than home ec teachers from a Simpsons’ episode, they created a nice sweet-and-spicy combination that I tried to replicate with different ingredients.
Tart apples and slowly caramelized onions are a match made in heaven. Add mustard and the spicy notes from curry and you’ve got a condiment that is irresistible in my book. I like this chutney with brie cheese on bread, or with poached or simply sautéed chicken or fish.
Curry powder is not a single spice, but a combination of many – and which spices are contained in any particular curry and how hot the curry makes your food make all the difference in the taste of the dish. I used a half-and-half combination of Sharwood’s mild and hot curry powders in this chutney. That particular brand contains many spices in both the mild and hot versions: coriander, turmeric fenugreek, cumin, mustard powder, red pepper, salt, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon, clove and ginger as well as onion and fennel. Some day I’ll make my own curry powder, but in the meantime, this serves quite well. Test your curry powder by sprinkling a bit in plain yogurt and tasting it. If it’s not hot enough for you, add a bit of cayenne or chile flakes.
The process of making this curry is simple.
First you caramelize the onions. When they are done, toss the onions in a large pot and add chopped apples, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
Then mix them up all those ingredients and bring them to a boil.
Let them simmer.
And just before the chutney finishes cooking, add the spices and lemon juice.
- Apple and Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops from Never Enough Thyme
- Apple-Cheese Spread from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Apple Chutney from Mother Would Know
- Savory Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding from Stetted
- Tsunth Monji – Green Apple Fritters from Spiceroots
- Apple Butter Coffee Cake from Pastry Chef Online
- Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Apple Streusel Cake with Yogurt Cream (Gluten-Free) from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Homemade Pink Applesauce (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Hubba Hubba Apple Cake from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
- Maple Glazed Apple Tart from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Maple Roasted Apple Butter with Bourbon from Creative Culinary
Progressive Eats is our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. As I’ve already mentioned, this month’s theme is a Kebab Fest. We are hosted by Liz Berg who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. We hope you’ll join us and make something unique and delicious inspired by our kebab theme.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, the host for the month choses a theme. Then members take the theme and run with it, sharing recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party. You can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.