The word chutney is derived from the East Indian word chatni, meaning "strongly spiced" and is described as a condiment which usually consists of a mix of chopped fruits, vinegar, spices and sugar cooked into a chunky spread. Most chutneys are on the spicy-hot side, but it's easy to adjust the heat to suit your own taste if you make your own. Chutneys are traditionally served with curried foods.
There is a myriad of possible combinations of ingredients for chutney. Most chutneys have a fruit base, but many non-sweet vegetables can also be used. Once you get the basic concept down, you can experiment with any number of fruits and vegetables. Use firm-fleshed, under-ripe fruits such as green mangoes, bananas, peaches, apples, nectarines and apricots. Rhubarb and firm or under-ripe tomatoes also work well, I have a great green tomato chutney that will probably make an appearance at the end of the tomato season. Dried fruits also work really well in chutneys as they retain their texture, yet contribute a tart flavor offset by the sugar and spices.
So if you want to spice up your ham and turkey this year give it a go.
1 lb. 8 1/2 ounces (750g) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
9 oz (250g) dried cranberries
1 onion, finely chopped
350 ml apple cider vinegar
7 oz (200g) sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp coriander seeds, roughly bashed in mortar and pestle
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp salt
Slice the apples into halves. Slice the halves length ways into smaller pieces, roughly 1/4-inch width. Place the apple pieces and finely chopped onion into a saucepan with all the other ingredients. Heat the mixture until it is simmering quickly. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, or until the chutney has thickened slightly and the fruit has become soft.
Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars and screw the lids onto the jars tightly. Allow to cool before storing in a cool, dark place.
This is a really pretty chutney, thanks to the turmeric the apples take on a beautiful golden hue. The apples give a lovely sweetness, then you get a little tartness from the cranberries and to finish you get all those wonderful spices with a little warmth from the ginger and chilli to round things out. Yes this would indeed be a great companion to ham or turkey. Even better possibly, with a nice creamy blue cheese and a glass of pinot.....mmmmmmm!