If we can cook it, you can cook it!

Pear and Apple Chutney

Pear and Apple Chutney
I saw gorgeous pears at the farm stand last weekend. Andrew was totally thrown when I bought them since he’s the baker and generally fruit falls into his department. But the Red Bartletts and their greener cousins were irresistible to me so I bought five of each and brought them home. “I’ll make chutney”, I said when asked what on earth was I doing.

Now I am a huge fan of Indian food and curries are one of the triumphs I’ve had that I urge you to try. I’ll soon share Suvir Saran’s Lahori Chicken Curry, and also his recipe for Party Cauliflower which may make a cauliflower eater out of even the greatest detractor of that vegetable. But the chutney recipe I tried was not his. It was out an old Gourmet from 1995.

Interestingly enough, there was no suggestion of where to use the finished product. Not too long ago, I shared a tomato chutney recipe that is almost essential to the blackened swordfish I serve it with. It’s such a great counter-balance to the spice coating the fish.

But I have to confess, I didn’t go into chutney-making mode with any clear idea of how I would serve it.I got out Larousse, such a comfort in moments like this, so totally French in its opinions. These included the following pronouncements: “Considered as typically Indian, chutney—from the Hindustani chatni—is in fact a British specialty dating from the colonial era (like pickles).” And then this coup de grace: “Chutneys are put in glass jars and kept like jams. They enliven slightly insipid dishes, mainly cold ones (chicken, fish, ham, leftovers).” Ah the dream of every cook, to enliven insipid foods.

Quite honestly, I still didn’t have a clear idea of how I was going to use mine. In fact I didn’t have a very clear picture of how it was going to taste with its rice vinegar, mustard seed and cinnamon combined with plenty of ginger. But I forged on and after enormous amounts of slicing and chopping ended up with a huge pot of the stuff—enough for 10 pints all Mason jarred and ready to go. I confess that even after tasting the finished product and liking what I tasted,

I still had visions of years of pork chops trying to use it all up. However, I had an epiphany, one that you have to have a great deal of faith in me to try. But if you like it half as much as I do, you will very pleased indeed. Then you can make Chutney’ed Tuna Salad, the recipe for which appears below.



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