Hot and spicy, most condiments like chutneys go so well with accompanying meat dishes, think curry chicken or grilled spiced lamb. It also pairs well with vegetables like southern field peas, roasted rutabagas and grilled summer squash. Some folks make certain chutneys for sweets like fried sweet fruit pies, even ice cream. Then there are some that like to use the condiment as an appetizer and served on crackers over cream cheese. However it is made, there is a chutney for just about every dish.
The classic originated from India I believe containing ingredients like onions, peppers, garlic, ginger and imported things like tamarind and mango. Nowadays, recipes for chutneys change with regions and with the seasons. Most commonly are ones made from regional fruits like apples, gooseberries, tomatoes even bananas yet all retain the characteristic quality and texture of a true Indian chutney.
Take this one for example, made with as much regional produce as I could find; our fresh picked peaches from north Alabama, jalapenos from across the bay and pecans from south of Mobile. Now as for the onions, I am still blessed to be able to purchase sweet vidalias from Georgia and everything else came from the grocer. These along with the basic ingredients make up one fine chutney that meet all the requirements I need and pairs well with everything I want to put it on: meats, vegetables, desserts and appetizers.
Peach Pepper Pecan Chutney
makes about 6 half-pints
2 quarts peeled, stoned and chopped large peaches (medium firm), 4 lbs. or so
2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
3 or 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup seedless white raisins, chopped
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
pinch of canning salt
Combine all ingredients in a larger pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until mixture is thick and peaches are soft. Stir frequently to keep bottom from sticking.
Pour boiling hot chutney into sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch head space. Place the lids and tighten screw bands onto jars and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath (after boil resumes).
Note: Do not overcook the chutney as I did. I got to yakking on the phone and this batch boiled too long. This keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks without having to seal using the water bath method. Makes nice gifts too.