Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Joy of Chutney

Some people like fall because of the changing leaves. Some enjoy fall because it signals the coming of cold weather and the ski season. But me? I like fall, and the threat of frost, because it encourages my gardener friends to harvest all of their green tomatoes. Bowls and buckets of green tomatoes, more than they could ever use themselves. And, being the gracious and generous people that they are, they bring them to me, with pleading look in their eyes. (Thanks, Alyssa!)

I make Green Tomato Chutney with these little green jewels. I simmer them with some onions, raisins, a little brown sugar, some apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and other spices for a few hours. The aroma that fills the Mercantile is absolutely mouth-watering.

What to do with chutney? Originally from India, chutney is generally defined as a condiment consisting of some combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and/or spices. One afternoon we tried a bunch of different chutneys in grilled cheese sandwiches. When the chutney combines with melted cheese, crunchy buttery bread and some sort of meat...well, a little slice of heaven. See recipes and ideas below.

Baked Brie with Jam and Nuts
An amazing appetizer for holidays, and easy enough for casual occasions. Use a sweet jam or a spicy chutney – both work beautifully! A note on puff pastry: it sounds intimidating but is simple simple simple. Try this and impress yourself!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8-ounce) round Brie cheese
1/3 c. jam or chutney
2 Tb. chopped walnuts or almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  3. Lay the puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Center the Brie wheel onto the pastry – leave the rind on.
  5. Spread the jam/chutney evenly over the top of the Brie.
  6. Sprinkle the walnuts atop the jam.
  7. Fold the puff pastry over the top of the Brie, sealing all openings.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Chutney Burger Sauce
This is so good it’s gonna change your life! Use it on burgers, sandwiches, as a dip for fries, more.

¼ c. plain yogurt
¼ c. mayonnaise
2 Tb. prepared mango (or other) chutney
1 tsp. curry powder, divided

Mix together; chill until needed.
Note: You may also use all mayonnaise, and leave out the curry for a more straight-forward
chutney-esque flavor. Experiment and enjoy!

Chutney and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
These sandwiches will change your life. Seriously.
  1. Start with great bread - sourdough, whole wheat studded with nutty bits, rye, challah…
  2. Choose up to three ingredients, including one cheese (see below for ideas)
  3. Slather the outside of two pieces of bread with butter.
  4. Place one butter-side down in a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. Place half the cheese on the bread, add the other ingredients, and then place the remaining cheese on top of the pile. This extra cheese helps the bread and the ingredients all stick together.
  6. Top with the other piece of bread, this time butter-side up.
  7. You may want to put a lid on the pan to help the cheese melt in tandem with the browning of the bread.
  8. Carefully flip the sandwich over when the first side starts to crisp up and turn toasty brown.
  9. Replace the lid while the second side cooks. Don’t let it burn!
  10. Serve with fresh fruit and pickles. The contrast of flavors will make you very, very happy.

Some of our favorites (or, the ones we’ve thought of so far).
    • Ham, Sharp Cheddar, Cranberry Chutney
    • Prosciutto, Mozzarella cheese, Tart plum jam
    • Roasted chicken, Goat cheese, Apple Chutney
    • Brie, Chutney, Nuts
    • Hot Pepper Jelly, Roast Beef, Bleu Cheese
    • Herbed goat cheese and apricot jam