I can’t think of a snappy title this time. But here’s a great chutney that shows off Texas ingredients in season right now. Our local farmers markets are offering plenty of organic options for onions, garlic and blueberries. And those Texas pears! If you steer clear of these rather rustic fruits on account of their tough hides or occasionally granular insides, I urge you to give ’em a try. Let them ripen up to a yielding texture–they may still feel surprisingly firm–and peel that thick skin off. These pears can be really luscious, and may even surprise your palate with a hint of walnut! This recipe is very customizable. It’s like a choose your own texture adventure.
- 2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons oil–organic virgin coconut is good. Whole Foods brand is usually the best buy. Most nut oils and any neutral oil would be fine.
- 1/4 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds. If you have only yellow, that will do.
- 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 2 whole dried red chiles–crush them if you want the heat.
- 2 small or 1 medium-ish onion, sliced thin or chopped medium fine, you decide. Choose your color, too. Mix it up if you want. Pairing a red and a sweet yellow worked great for me.
- 1 large clove of garlic, prepped as you please. From whole or whole smashed to pressed or any form in between.
- a pecan shell-size finger of ginger, preferably organic and domestic. You can fine shred, microplane or mince this. By the way, I almost never peel ginger. Don’t tell anyone. On second thought, tell everybody!
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium-sized Texas pear (about 5 ounces), hard or ripe, peeled, cored and diced medium or fine or shredded thick or thin.
- 1/2 cup organic raisins–I love the Central Market Bulk raisins.
- 1/4-1/3 cup organic apple cider vinegar
- 80 grams (about 3/8 cup plus a scant teaspoon) turbinado sugar
- 1 pint organic Texas blueberries–about $4 still at our farmers markets and Central Market–rinsed and drained. Don’t bother to dry them.
Heat your oil and whole spices in 10″ to 12″ skillet on medium high heat. Let the spices toast and the mustard seeds pop. Add the onions. Stir and cook the onions to brown them nicely. Adjust the heat as necessary. Stir in your garlic and lightly brown it if you like. Stir in the ginger. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium-low to medium heat about 20 minutes, until the chutney has thickened well and the blueberries are as popped as you please. Add a dash of water if it’s thickening up too soon. Don’t eat the whole spices if you can help it!
You’ll love the royal hue of this sweet condiment. Eat it with the usual kebabs and pilafs or try some on a tangy cheese. Enjoy the Texas bounty!