Let’s talk chutney.
I started thinking about a fruit chutney when I decided to Indian-ize my goat-cheese-stuffed roast chicken. Goat cheese and fruit go together, well…like this April and snow.
I started searching the interwebs for chutney recipes, which was really depressing because summer and all of its bountiful fruits couldn’t feel further away at this point. (See above.) But then, I went to the grocery store only to find that mangoes were on sale 4 for $5.00. After I finished lovingly squeezing them for ripeness, I gently placed them in my cart, and told Owen that this chutney was going to be a mango chutney.
Sidebar: You might be asking yourself if mangoes are seasonal eating for this Minnesota girl. And the answer is a very Eeyore-esque no. Mangoes, and their tropical citrusy cousins oranges, lemons, and limes, know better than to venture anywhere near this far north of the equator. And so…in theory, they would never be in season here, and if I was as locally-minded as some, I would put my foot down at food that has travelled so far and probably die of scurvy every January. And so, I aptly justify my purchase of these fruits even though they are neither seasonal or local to my neck of the woods.
The Sidebar’s Sidebar: When I lived in South Sudan, there was a month or so when ripe mangoes pretty much rained from the sky, and it was a little like heaven. Kids would chuck sticks up at heavy mango-laden branches, and the mangoes would thud to the ground, where kids would flock to peel them, eat them, and suck their large seeds nearly dry. I can’t say I didn’t join them, and for weeks on end, my hands were sticky with mango. It was as glorious as it sounds, and now I am forever a fan of the mighty mango, which is why, when they are 4 for $5, I will always buy them, even though these well-traveled mangoes pale, pale, pale in comparison to those eaten just under where they were grown.
So, I bought the mangoes. I brought them home. And then I thought of all of the dried apricots in my pantry that Owen is obsessed with chewing on, and knew they needed to shack up with the mangoes for some extra sweetness. Knowing this chutney would be smothering goat-cheesed-chicken, I knew that I wanted a generous pinch of ginger in the chutney to keep the party lively, and from there it was an avalanche of all of my favorite things: garlic, onion, jalapeno, curry, coriander, cumin…plus a little cider vinegar to give it that chutney kick.
Chutney couldn’t be easier to make, friends…just chopping, boiling, and simmering. It keeps well in the fridge, and in fact, its flavors intensify the longer they sit together. Plus, you can use this chutney in lots of ways…on poultry, fish, or pork…or simply mixed with jasmine rice and topped with lots of cilantro like I ate for lunch for about a week straight. I imagine this chutney on a cheese plate in my near future. But mostly, I made it for the goat-cheese-stuffed chicken, and I can only recommend you do the same. Chutney for the win.
(recipe by Carpé Season) (yields 4-5 c. chutney)
This zesty chutney is easy to make and goes perfectly with white poultry, fish, or pork. We love to pair it with roast chicken stuffed with Indian-spiced goat cheese . You can make it ahead of time and the flavors only get better with time!
2 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2-inch (or 3 tbsp.) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno, ribbed and seeded, then minced (if using frozen, thaw first)
1/2 tsp. curry powder
pinch ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 large mangoes, peeled and rough chopped (seed discarded)
2 heaping c. (or 1 lb.) dried apricots, rough chopped
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cider vinegar
(optional) squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped just before serving
Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Soften the onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, curry, coriander, by cooking uncovered for 5 minutes. Then stir in the the chopped mangoes and apricots, plus the sugar and cider vinegar. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat; once boiling, lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes until much of the liquid has evaporated and chutney is soft.
Give it a taste. I felt like mine needed a little more bite, so I added just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You could also add salt at this point if that's your fancy.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Be sure to serve it with plenty of fresh chopped cilantro.
*This is a great recipe to make ahead as the flavors only intensify the longer they sit together. Yum!