When the British colonized India, one of the subcontinent’s treasures brought back to England was the British adopted taste for Indian food. Curries and chutneys became more and more visible on English tables. We, who enjoy these treats, owe a tip of the chef’s toque to India and her cuisine.
Chutneys have evolved far from Indian tastes to accomodate some westerners’ desire for less heat in their chutneys. Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, probably the most well known chutney throughout the US, is relatively mild, and if often the only chutney available on a grocer’s shelves. It remains to the curious cook to seek recipes for chutneys and start experimenting.
My sister tells the story about the time she cooked up a batch of chutney and took a jar to Sal, her local butcher in Brooklyn. When she returned a few days later, she asked him if he had tried the chutney. He told her it was very good and that he had eaten the whole jar – plain, old chutney, by itself. He didn’t understand that it was a condiment.
That must have been good chutney!
She has kindly furnished her recipe, from Fanny Farmer.
From my sister, Ellen:
“This must have been awhile ago. I haven’t made homemade chutney for awhile. I used to make it from our apples upstate, very labor intense, due to their size, but it was delicious. Oh yes, also I used our green/ red tomatoes.
The recipe I used was from the Fanny Farmer cook book. I also referred to the Ceylon cookbook, from years ago. Most of those chutneys were made with mango, and pineapple and other tropical fruits.
As far as the butcher, it would have been Sal, our local Italian butcher who made delicious steak pinwheels, stuffed with parsley and cheese. He also taught me how to made great meatballs ( I still use his recipe). he has since moved to Florida and the space is now a Korean mini grocery, run by Mrs, & Mr. Lee, both Buddhist. We always bring them back Buddha statues from our travels.
The recipe from Fanny Farmer is : * (I never added the flour)
Put in a bowl:
3 cups chopped green tomatoes
Sprinkle with salt
Let sit 12 hours & drain.
1 quart cider vinegar
2 T of salt
1 lb. of brown sugar
12 tart apples, seeded
2 spanish onions
Put all in a sauce pan and add:
1 lb. or raisins
1 T of ground ginger ( I chopped fresh)
2/3 cups of fresh mint
Cook over low heat until tender.
Mix 2 T of flour & 1/4 cup water and add.*
Simmer to proper thick consistency. Makes 4 pints.
Refrigerate for storage.
I remember using dates, sometimes instead of raisins. Chutney is great, I use it often as a side dish, especially with cottage cheese as the other side dish.
Now I buy Poonjiaji’s “Major Greys’s Mango Chutney”
I have also lately used it in my new guacamole recipe:
3 ripe avocados.
2 heaping T of Poonjiaji mango chutney
some fresh grape tomatoes, chopped
sour cream as needed (to balance)
1 large handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T of sambol or harrisa sauce
1 lime squeezed
salt & pepper
I always adjust flavors as I assemble.
There are many chutney recipes.It is fun to make somthing you can eat over a long period of time.”
Thanks to my sister for her contribution to our “chutney chat.”
Ten years ago I made some apple chutney to go with a pork tenderloin that I was going to brown and then continue roasting in the oven. I made the chutney early in the afternoon, and let it cook slowly on the stove for an hour or two until it reached the consistency I wanted. I served it at room temperature with the pork that I sliced in thick slices. I used some of the remaining chutney the next day as a sauce for chicken breasts.
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 c. chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
3/4 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. finely chopped red pepper
1/2 c. currants
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 t. minced garlic cloves
1 t. salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
pinch of cloves
Combine ingredients in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, lower heat and simmer for about an hour until thick and syrupy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
BONUS RECIPE — CHUTNEY SAUCE
[I seasoned boneless chicken breast halves with salt and pepper and sauteed them in a skillet with hot olive oil and butter. When the chicken was done, I removed them to a platter and kept them covered with foil while I made the chutney sauce.]
Drippings in skillet
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. apple chutney
2 T. heavy cream
1. Discard most of the butter and oil in skillet.
2. Deglaze the pan with the white wine over medium heat, scraping up the good browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
3. Add the broth and return the chicken to the skillet. Cook over medium- medium low heat for 5 minutes to partially reduce the sauce.
4. Add the chutney and cream and cook over low heat, partially covered for 5 minutes more, adding more cream or broth to the sauce if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chutney sauce with the chicken.