Yesterday I did some work on polishing up some recipes I've been developing for the local paper. They all turned out really good, I think, and I hope some of the readers try them! But since I made them earlier in the day, and they were going to be with dinner last night, I really had nothing to do as far as cooking for the actual meal. It was kind of nice. :-) Yet I still found myself wanting to cook something, and as we have a cake we're finishing off, dessert wasn't really an option. I opened up the fridge to see if I had something languishing in there, and I spied the last of a 3 pound bag of fresh cranberries. Immediately I thought of a cranberry chutney that had recently been posted on the Cooking Light bulletin board.
I am new to chutney. I made pear chutney this past fall and was so amazed with how wonderful it tasted. I still need to find some uses for chutney (other than topping Indian food), but with thoughts of this wonderful pear chutney in my head, I set about turning these cranberries into some ruby-colored deliciousness. And oh, good gravy, I was not disappointed! This is what cranberries are made for, I tell you. And even better? It was ridiculously easy. I merely put all the ingredients in a pot and simmered them until the mixture got nice and thick- all told, about 30 minutes of inactive cooking time. It just needed a stir now and then. When it was as thick as I thought I'd like, I tasted it, then tasted again. Then I had to share a taste with Andy, who was equally impressed.
Now I have cranberry chutney. And since I want to make sure it lasts as long as possible, I very quickly pulled out some half-pint canning jars and small-batch preserved two tiny half-pints of this wine colored nectar. The other half pint went into the fridge for, ahem, sampling now and then. Our turkey sandwiches will never be the same, and since this was so incredibly easy, I'm going to have my eye out for more cranberries just for this purpose. Cranberry Chutney would be the perfect addition to any table this holiday season- I'm told it makes a fantastic appetizer with some cream cheese and crackers, and that will be confirmed very soon. I'm also going to be on the prowl for more of Bob's luscious chutney recipes- if they're even half as good as this one, they'll be well worth the effort.
from The Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Loomis
Cranberries are so full of natural pectin that they are ideal for conserves, and this sweet, tart spread is wonderful. It can be canned or frozen, or kept in the refrigerator for weeks. I like to use it on sharp Cheddar cheese sandwiches, as a condiment for curry, or alongside roast chicken.
1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
I small tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced (I never peel)
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1/2 to 1/2 tsp. dried pepper flakes
1. Place all the ingredients in a large heavy saucepan (using only 1/4 tsp. of the red pepper flakes) and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. The cranberries will pop as they cook. Taste and adjust the pepper flakes.
2. Allow the chutney to cool, then ladle into jars. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months. Alternatively, ladle into sterilized jars and *seal according to mfrs. instructions. Or place in freezer containers, allow to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to one year.
Yield: 2 pints
*Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner
NOTE: I like to add some finely chopped orange rind.