Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pear Chutney

I found this recipe on the Food in Jars blog. It's a wonderful way to use up those pears we foraged. I was lucky enough to find all the ingredients sitting in my pantry. My aunt had given me a 2 pound bag of dried cherries from her senior food baskets and all the spices are ones I had in my pantry. I used ginger juice from GingerPeople instead of fresh ginger. I served this with zucchini fritters. My fritters were far too dry so I will need to work with them some more before I post the recipe (I think I wrung out too much liquid in my zucchini).
This recipe took almost no effort to make - the most being cutting up the pears. Since the pears we foraged were small, I cut up more. The only substitutions I made were I used pomegranate vinegar and amaretto in place of red wine vinegar and apple brandy. The taste was amazing.
I plan on trying a version with apples because we have so many of them leftover as well.

Pear Chutney with Dried Cherries and Ginger
makes 3 half pint jars

3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped roughly
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons apple brandy
4 cups roughly chopped Bartlett pears (4-5 medium pears)
2/3 cup sugar

Place dried cherries in a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup and pour boiling water over top. Set aside.
Heat a large, non-reactive pot or skillet over medium heat. Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Add onion and sea salt and cook until the onion softened and develops a bit of color. Add ginger, mustard seeds and cardamom and cook until spices are fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop.
Add vinegar and brand to pan and use a wooden spoon to work up any bits of fond on the bottom of the pan. Add dried cherries and their liquid. Add chopped pears and sugar and stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low, put a lid on the pan and let pears simmer gently for 30-35 minutes so that they soften.
When the pears can be crushed with the back of a wooden spoon, remove the lid from the pot. Increase the heat to high and cook quickly, stirring regularly, to help reduce any remaining liquid.
When chutney is no longer at all watery and looks deeply colored, take a taste. Should it need it, add a splash more vinegar, a pinch more salt or a spoonful more sugar. Do make sure to taste for adjustments before canning, as ingredients can vary from kitchen to kitchen and it’s the only way to ensure that you’ll wind up with a product that you like.
When chutney is fully cooked down and tastes good to you, ladle it into three prepared half pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
When time is up, remove jars from canning pot and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within a week. Sealed jars can be kept in the pantry for up to one year.

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