March 2, 2010

complexity defined

My stepdad is a man of many talents, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that among them was a prowess for canning and preserving. Chow-chow, dilly beans, and pepper jelly are some of the many goodies that he has stocked in the basement.


A new and unique discovery for me was a jar of--I won't dance around it--extremely unappetizing brown stuff he called chutney.

I've worked with a few Indian gals and also peruse many a blog focused on Indian cuisine, so I always thought chutney was more of a thin, saucy accompaniment to their spicy dishes. The Americanized version is quite different--its consistency is more like that of jelly or perhaps relish and it boasts both sweet and sour taste profiles.


I was instructed to eat this homemade chutney with some brown beans; it was implied that there was something magical about the combination. I did as I was told, and boy, did I ever love that first mouthful! The creamy and slightly salty brown beans were the perfect vehicle for this juicy chutney, which contained pears that dissolved on the tongue, chewy and plump raisins, and tiny bits of sweet onion. There was a bit of heat in the background and a major zap from the vinegar. I could hardly register everything going on in my mouth all at once!


I've heard dishes described as being complex, but until now, I don't think I truly knew what that meant. The medley and balance of flavors here is absolutely an experience you don't want to miss! Yes, chutney will definitely brighten up a dish of boring ol' beans, but I wouldn't mind eating it with tortilla chips or--heck, we're all friends here--straight from the jar with a spoon.

Charlie's Chomp-worthy Chutney
4 quarts pears, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup onion, chopped
2-3 cups brown sugar, based on your tastes
1/4 cup mustard seed
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 hot red pepper
3 cups vinegar

Combine all ingredients and cook slowly until thick, about 40 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Pour, boiling hot, into hot pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Yield = about 7 pints.

80 comments:

Von said...

I've never had chutney before- but you make it sound do good!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love chutney! You are right, it isn't anything like sauce and has chunky bits... Nice recipe!

Cheers,

Rosa

Chanel11 said...

Wowsa - that sounds like one helluva chutney!

shaz said...

Lucky you being the recipient of that yummo chutney. The chutney my mum makes tends to be in that style as well, a bit "jammy" and thick, with a sweet, sour, spicy balance. And oh yes, i eat it with a spoon too :)

Barbara said...

Aren't you lucky to have a stepdad who loves to can? Bet he does jams too! Any chutney I've ever had is thick, usually has mangoes in it and not much heat; his recipe sounds packed with all sorts of great flavors...

The Teacher Cooks said...

Your description makes me want to try this, but no I do not have the time to can. How about shipping out some of the good stuff?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

hehe now that's a random but fabulous talent for a dad or step dad! My dad wouldn't know the first thing about it lol

MaryMoh said...

Wow...your chutney looks really delicious. I would love to eat it with pancakes or prawn crackers....mmm

Melanie said...

I can definitely see how complex applies here. What a strange yet delicious sounding combination!

kat said...

I love chutney on a cheese or turkey sandwich but on beans, now that is a new one!

bonnie said...

Love chutney..great recipe!

sweetlife

kellypea said...

Whoa. You have my tastebuds working this morning imagining the sweet and sour in this combo. I've used chutney as an ingredient for bbq meat but haven't made my own. Pears are an interesting part of this -- used to seeing mango. Definitely Hoo-ah on beans. :)

Bellini Valli said...

Way to go Charlie!!!!!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Wow what an interesting meal! I would so want to try it :) I should make a batch of this for my dad I know he would love it.

Jacqueline said...

This is similar to the chutneys I make. I like the flavours in this one. I will be trying this come Autumn :)

livinlocal said...

The word "chutney" doesn't do much for me, but your description makes me want to give this a go. About how many pears did it take to make 4 quarts?

muffinsareuglycupcakes said...

havent had chutney before. but they look good!

Erica said...

I love chutney and pears!!!That sounds like the perfect chutney :)

Josie said...

I grew up with the disturbing brown chutney, and it took a lot of work for my mom to convince me to try it. But I agree that once I did, the flavors were intense and complex and delightfully contrary. I will have to try this version during my next canning-a-thon!

Hungry Dog said...

I love chutney. First, I love the word "chutney." Second, I love the real thing. So many variations...so little time.

Pam said...

I had chutney with pork years ago and loved it but have never tried to make my own. This recipe looks simple and delicious.

foodhoe said...

I've had chutney, but only with Indian food, which means only in restaurants really. The recipe sounds very intense, 3 cups of vinegar! Definitely sounds like it will wake up the tastebuds...

Bob said...

Beans and chutney? This, I have to try.

Cate O'Malley said...

Love that your dad cans - how fun! Also love chutney, though never had it with beans - sounds like a great combination.

dawn said...

man I love chutneys. I'm so glad you do too. And yes, with beans!!! Hello!

Mimi said...

Skip the chips and give me a spoon, please.
Mimi

Sook said...

Oh wow, I also thought that chutney was an Indian thing. This chutney looks fabulous. I will have to try it with beans like you said! :)

Gulmohar said...

Of course this sounds and looks so different from the Indian chutneys :-)This looks fabulous, Grace !

Lucie said...

Chutney with beans, what a fantastic idea! I'm a sucker for homemade mango chutney--your pear version is a must-try!

Pam said...

I love chutney! It really fancies up some plain roasted meats, and I can't believe I never added it to beans!

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

I've never had chutney before either, I usually stay away from the stuff due to my complex texture issues (complex being that there is no rhyme or reason to what I do and don't like).

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm going to mix me up some chutney and beans.

Ella said...

Your chutney looks really delicious! I make chutney from time to time... I will try this one!

Jeanette said...

I am always looking for something new to do with all the pears we get from our trees. Thank you for sharing.

Marjie said...

Someone once gave me a jar of her homemade chutney. I was afraid of it.

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, yes! I lovelovelove chutney. I make it with apples, and we eat it with pork. and beef. and sausages. and in tarts.

I never thought of combining it with beans, though. This just might be a new food group!

Think Charlie might want to adopt me??

Shari said...

This looks both interesting and fun! I loved your post and may have to give this a try!

Robin Sue said...

I have never heard of chutney with beans like that but I think you are on to something here. When I think about it, I think it sounds great. Mmmm and made with pears too!

Juliana said...

Grace your chutney looks delicious with all the ingredients in it :-) Would love to have it with some crackers or toasted lavash...yummie!

krissy @ the food addicts said...

nicely done.. chutney is a great addition to different dishes! i've never made it before, but sounds like something i can do.

Elra said...

Oh my goodness, just the title alone already make me smile. This is utterly delish!

Faith said...

I'm so glad you shared this recipe, Grace! Not only does it sound fantastic, but when pear season (like apple, cherry, strawberry season, etc.) comes around I go a little crazy when I see the prices so low. This will give me a wonderful use for all the bushels of pears I'm sure to buy! :)

Carolyn Jung said...

I love how a dab of chutney can give a whole new dimension to a dish you've had a gazillion times before already. It's like you said -- so complex, a real party in your mouth. ;)

MaryBeth said...

WOW...this would be great on just about anything. It has wonderful texture and flavors going on...Great Job Grace

Danielle said...

It's a good thing I have family in Alabama other wise I'd have nooooo clue what chow chow was LOL. I think I've bought chutney one time (don't remember why) but I think you've convinced me to give it a another try. This sounds delish!

Emily said...

I'd love to try this chutney. I wonder how spicy it was? I bet the mustard gave it a kick.

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds like a real treat with wonderful array of flavors! This is something my family would be sure to love with pears & raisins!

Maria said...

This chutney looks like a keeper for sure!

TKW said...

Chutney. GAG! I am not a girl who likes her sweet and savory mixed, for some reason. I'm odd, I know!

Amy I. said...

I am determined to face my fear of canning this summer. I've heard of canning jam and pickle of course, but never thought of canning chutney! We have a pear tree too, so I can't not make this, really. Can summer come now please?!

msmeanie said...

Oh, I LOVE chutney. Being Indian-American, I've grown up with it too, and lots of different variations. Yours sounds amazing. I love the combination of flavors and spices. And I agree, it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it is GOOD!

Lynda said...

My grandmother used to make chutney, but I don't remember what she added to it. It was delicious, as I'm sure this is. You are lucky to have such a talented step-dad that can whip up such a tasty creation!

Chef Aimee said...

I love all kinds of chutney, and its a great dish that comes in so many varieties! This recipe is new to me but I must try it - I love the sweet and savory of this.

Kate said...

Chutney is wonderful...this one, made with pears looks delightful. I love all kinds of chutney. I will have to give this one a try. Thank you for sharing!

vickys said...

I remember I was super excited once, at the propect of having mango chutney with my basmati rice. Little did I know it was SPICY...I was deeply upset. This looks like a less scary version! Gotta try it again!

Cheri said...

Delicious! I always avoided chutneys because for some reason they always sounded (and looked) unappetizing.. until I made some rhubarb chutney when I was visiting my parents and Christmas. Wow! Was I missing out! This pear chutney looks equally delicious. I will have to try it out!

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

Looks beautiful. I like chutneys, I recently explored some really good ones at the Indian market. Fig and lime chutney!

WizzyTheStick said...

Chutney can really perk up a dish and goes well with so many other things. I have never had it with beans but I can imagine how good it tastes already

Bridgett said...

My grandfather used to do canning as well. I always thought it was kind of cool he actually got in the kitchen besides to eat! This sounds like a tasty recipe especially paired with the beans.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Ooh, chutney with pears! That sounds fabulous. If I can ever get my stubborn pear tree to produce, I'll have to try this.

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Excellent "medley and balance of flavors " Well spoken! I am sold on this chutney. In the past few years I have grown to love the sweet savory thing.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

This would be perfect with some soft slices of roast chicken, in a sarnie....hmmm. He's a good man!

Catherine said...

I love chutney! This looks delicious Grace, I'll have to try making this soon.
Have a wonderful day!

Sophie said...

I'm only familiar with chutneys in the first way you described, but I love the sound of the many flavors of this chunky, tasty chutney. Sounds like your step-dad's got some talent too :)!

Helene said...

I love making chutneys, this is a recipe that I will try. Must be so good.

Lori said...

I just love chutney. I am about to post another recipe of chutney soon. I so agree about the complexity thing. With beans- yes- yes- yes! Must have that! Lets ee Grace, at this very moment I have brown rice, beans and apple ginger chutney. Thank you for assisting me in figuring out whats for dinner tomorrow.

~~louise~~ said...

I don't think I've ever experienced "real" chutney. I'm leaning toward Nay because after your description, it sure seems like I would remember. Thanks for sharing, Grace. Someday, I really need to concentrate on learning how to "put up" summer's bounty:)

Laura said...

There are as many chutneys as there are curries in India, i.e., they can be more or less cooked down and more or less sweet. I love the sweet and sour ones myself--you would like the chutneys on my blog also I bet. If you leave them free of Indian spicing (some do some don't), they are good on loads of things, I agree. This one looks fantastic; hooray for your stepdad. :)

Kerstin said...

What a flavorful chutney - it sounds so delicious and versatile!

Ingrid said...

I always thought chutney's were a chunky savory sweet jam-y sauce.
~ingrid

Peabody said...

I bet this would be awesome with pork.

Hornsfan said...

Wow, delicious looking, I love chutney but have never paired it with beans...can't wait to try that!

Lisa said...

That is a surprise, and so interesting. My father-in-law talks about eating lima beans with raspberry vinegar or grape jelly. I guess it is the same idea but I have never even heard of adding chutney to beans. What's more this chutney sounds great.

Deborah said...

I love chutneys, but I don't think I've ever made my own. This sounds quite interesting!

Foodycat said...

I've never had chutney with beans, but I do love it with cheese!

kimberleyblue said...

Chutney and beans? That's new to me...I too might have been hesitant at first, but your description definitely convinces me it's worth trying.

That sounds like an awesome chutney, too!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Honestly? I think we should have a giant foodie potluck campout one week each summer. I am going to have to think about this one. Bloggers unite. Camp. Cook. Eat. Talk. Teach. Share. What could be better? Well, maybe the facilities. It is just easier to know you have a kitchen in a campground than in a hotel. But that might be arranged, too.
Love the chutney.

Barefoot Belle said...

I love pear chutney. It reminds me of sweet days of summer, sitting around the kitchen table with my aunt, grandmother, mom, and cousins, peeling and chopping the pears for the two day event which resulted in cans upon cans of chutney. Thanks for sharing--it's a good memory of home!

sewa mobil murah said...

I have never heard of chutney with beans like that but I think you are on to something here. When I think about it, I think it sounds great. Mmmm and made with pears too!

Cyberman said...

Have you ever seen somebody lick the chutney spoon in an Indian Restaurant and put it back? This would never have happened under the Tories.