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Friday Favorite: Chutneys, Sauces and Toppings

April 1st, 2011

I have a friend that always jokes that my table looks like a French table because I put out so many jars of sauces, chutneys, mustards and other toppings for meals. I must admit, I’m a lover of a good topping. With a variety of toppings you can take a burger from “everyday” to “extraordinary”. Not to mention you can make the same thing taste completely differently depending on which topping you add. I have a collection of mustards in my pantry, I buy them when I spot an interesting one while traveling.

This past fall I got a delicious jar of Ipswich Ale Mustard at Plum Cove Grind a small coffee shop in Gloucester, MA. I also have small pots of mustard from around the world purchased from specialty grocery stores.

The chutneys and sauces we use are made in my kitchen. I try just about every chutney recipe I stumble upon. Making chutney is a really great way to use up small quantities of fruit. My most favorite variety is Roasted Pear Chutney, although I have a peach chutney that comes in a close second.

ROASTED PEAR CHUTNEY
adapted from Epicurious

2 ripe pears, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 small red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons currants
3 tablespoons golden raisins
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Toss the pears with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the cinnamon, and cloves. Coat a sheet pan with half the vegetable oil. Set the pears cut side down on the pan. Brush the pears with the remaining oil. Roast until caramelized and tender, 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the degree of ripeness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
3. While the pears are roasting, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop out the cores of the cooked pears. Cut the pears into 1/2-inch slices.
5. Combine the pears and the onion mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving.

I make a big batch of this and can it. I fill sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, add rings & lids, process in waterbath canner for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

The sauce, chutney, topping section of my pantry is starting to look a little sparse. I typically make my chutneys every two years. This year I’ll definitely be restocking my collection as I’d hate to run out. My burgers would be very boring without them!

Do you make any sauces, chutneys or toppings? What’s your favorite way to eat chutney?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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