Apple, Ginger & Chutney, Oh My!
It always starts with a trip to the farmers market. During this particular visit, I was drawn to stalks of fresh ginger, almost 2 feet long! The bulb is large, pale-yellow, pink and incredibly fragrant. This ginger needs no peeling; it’s as pungent as any you have eaten. I stood behind a young man who had collected an armful of ginger stalks. I asked what he planned to do with all that ginger. He told me he owned a small general store down the road, and needed it for customers. How cool!
As I waited for him to pay, I looked around at the other offerings in the stall. There were peppers! I mean boxes and boxes of peppers –varieties that I never heard of. The farmer was smart to include the names and description of each one, including the heat level. In addition to the familiar poblano peppers, I decided to try both Lemon Drop and Trinidad Perfume peppers.
Filling my basket with my treasures, I started out of the market. And then…… well, it is apple season. I ran smack dab into a stall that held over two dozen varieties of apples. Cameo, Spigold, York, Yoko, Prairie Spy…. The assortment of apples was amazing! The farmer offers you a five-dollar bag, or an eight-dollar bag and you chose your favorite apples.
Peppers, ginger, apples…. A fall harvest treat, and the perfect ingredients for one of my favorite condiments… chutney!
My cookbook, Sunday Best Dishes: A Cookbook for Passionate Cooks has a recipe for Roasted Pepper Chutney that I serve with Welsh Rarebit. (Yes… this is yummy). I took that recipe, and adapted it to include all the ingredients that I found at the market. The chutney is delicious. The heat from the lemon drop peppers stays in the background, so that just when you think the chutney is a touch too sweet, the pepper creeps into the after taste. It’s special! I served it on roasted pork for company and then on top of some soft cheddar cheese for an appy the next day. It you are looking to make gifts for holiday giving, whip up a batch of this chutney and treat your friends!
Sunday Best Roasted Pepper Chutney
On Welsh Rarebit Sandwiches
This chutney can be as spicy as you like—it all depends on the peppers you choose. Roasting them gives the dish a smoky depth of flavor. Make a big batch and store it in the fridge; that way you can slather the spread on toast and top with cheese for a midnight snack later on!
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
4 large red bell peppers
2 orange Anaheim peppers (or 4 medium jalapeno peppers)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
½ cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 cup homemade chicken broth, or prepared low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan on high heat. Place the whole peppers onto the grill. Char the skin on all sides until black and blistered, about 20 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Pull off the charred skin. Remove the stem. Use a knife to scrape away the seeds. Chop the peppers. If you are sensitive to hot peppers, wear gloves for this task. Remember to wash your hands carefully after working with hot peppers.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chopped peppers, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, mustard, paprika and chicken stock. Simmer until the chutney becomes thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
2 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated, about ½ cup
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 thick slices artisanal bread, toasted
Preheat the oven on the broil setting. Stir the cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise together in a bowl. Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet coated with vegetable oil spray. Spread a layer of chutney onto each slice. Spread a heaping spoonful of cheese topping over the chutney. Broil until the topping is browned and bubbling, about 4 to 6 minutes.