Friday, January 18, 2013

Peachy Cranberry Chutney

Before Christmas we went to visit my Mother-in-law. One of the things she gave us was a bag of cranberries. This might sound weird, but I was really excited about it!

I'd never cooked with fresh cranberries before.  With dried cranberries being so inexpensive and readily available, it just didn't cross my mind.

I always love the opportunity to learn about a new ingredient.  I think half the fun in cooking is finding out about new things, or new ways to prepare something you've eaten the same way for ages and are just sick of it.

So I went on my usual recipe hunting quest and found this amazing chutney from Averie Cooks.

why yes...that is our Thanksgiving wishbone on the stove...

 I used tangerines and peaches instead of oranges and mangoes.  I accidentally bought tangerines that had seeds in them.  Blockette wanted nothing to do with them, and I'm not a fan of oranges that don't come out of a can, so Mrblocko was having a difficult time eating the entire bag himself before they went bad.

The peaches also seemed like a great choice as I had exactly the right amount of frozen peaches left from making a glaze for a roast.  (Oh I will talk about that roast in another post...the best roast I've ever made/eaten.)

 Once the chutney had boiled down to the thickness I liked (for me, it was about 20 min), I mashed the whole thing with a potato masher.  I wanted some chunks, but not huge ones.

I feel I should warn those of you, like me, who have never cooked with fresh cranberries...they are going to make all kinds of crazy popping noises as the mixture comes to a boil.  This is normal.  Cranberries have 4 air chambers, which causes them to float when the cranberry bogs are flooded for harvesting. The popping noise is from the air in these chambers expanding, which causes the cranberry to crack, or pop open.  So don't be like me and freak out!  The freaky weird noise is perfectly fine.

I don't think Mrblocko liked the chutney at first.  I'm pretty sure it was the seeds that threw him.  He's not a big fan of seeded jams and jellies.  I reminded him that dried cranberries also have seeds in them and he never seemed to have a problem with the seeds in anything I made with dried cranberries.  Or maybe this chutney is so darn good that he is able to overlook the seeds.

This recipe made 3 small containers of chutney.  I froze 2 and we're now down to the last jar.  (sob!)

I'm very happy to say that this chutney freezes wonderfully.

I've been mostly eating this as a dip for wheat thins, and instead of sour cream and salsa on quesadillas.  Seriously, as a condiment for quesadillas, this chutney is amazing.  I got the idea from the flavor combination from Cranchiladas, and the jelly sauce that you get on the side when you have a Monte Cristo Sandwich.  Ah.May. Zing.

Cranberry & Orange Ginger Mango Chutney from Averie Cooks

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1/2 of a peeled orange, diced (about 1/3 c) (I used a whole nectarine, seeds removed)
3/4 c mango, diced (I used frozen peaches)
1 1/4 c water
1 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground ginger, or more/less to taste (I used 1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, or more/less to taste (I used 1 tsp but I love cinnamon)

 Combine all items in a sautee pan on the stovetop and bring to a rapid boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer until desired thickness is reached.  For me this was about 20 minutes but will vary on how thick you want the chutney and the rate/heat of your simmering on your stovetop.  I could see this being “done” for some people at about 10-12 minutes and for others, 30 minutes.
Yields: approximately 24 ounces of chutney (3 small glass jars).  Will keep in jars in the refrigerator for week(s) so you can make a large batch at once.  This freezes well too.

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