In my house, Thanksgiving comes twice a year: once in mid-October, when we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with my husband Ted's family, and again in November, when the Americans take their turn. It wouldn't be Canadian Thanksgiving without my sister-in-law's decorated baked potato turkeys, maple-leaf printed napkins, little paper Canadian flags on toothpicks scattered here and there, and moose-shaped cookies. We do love our traditions. Every year, I cook turkey and mashed potatoes and apple pie, and from the harvest from our pear trees, I make mildly-peppery tart chutney to serve alongside the more traditional cranberry sauce. A few weeks ago, I found some wonderful pluots at the market and thought they'd make a sweet counterpart to the pears. A pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot; sometimes they're sold as plumcots. If you can't find them at your market, substitute ripe plums in this recipe. Chutney, an Indian condiment often served with curries, likes to "bloom" for a few weeks in the refrigerator in order to reach its peak flavor. Make it now, and it will be perfect for whichever Thanksgiving you celebrate. (In the photo above, I've slathered it on a turkey and provolone roll-up.)
Pear and pluot chutney with raisins and ginger
From the pantry, you'll need: onion, fresh ginger root, garlic, brown sugar, cider vinegar, cinnamon, fresh black pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg, ground cloves, kosher salt.
Makes approximately 1 quart; can be multiplied.
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root (or grated on a Microplane grater)
3/4 cup unsweetened apple cider
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5-6 large ripe pears, roughly diced (do not peel)*
6 ripe pluots or plums, roughly diced (do not peel)*
1/4 cup golden raisins
In a 4-quart nonreactive nonstick sauce pan, or a Dutch oven, combine all ingredients except the fruit.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the diced pears and pluots, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until the fruit is softened. Now, stir in the raisins.
Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has the consistency of thick jam (20-30 minutes). The chutney will thicken further as it cools, so don't let all of the liquid evaporate.
Let the chutney cool to room temperature. Pack into jars with tight-fitting lids, and refrigerate. Will keep for 3 months or more in the refrigerator.
*Exact proportions aren't terribly important. You want to have 4 cups of roughly chopped fruit.
More chutneys for the Thanksgiving table (and leftover turkey sandwiches):
Dried cranberry and pear chutney
Tomato nectarine chutney
Green (or red) tomato and apple chutney
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Ginger switchel, from The Kitchn
Three bean salad, from Simply Recipes
Quick and easy chicken adobo, from The Ivory Hut
Tangy cucumber salad, from Inspired Taste
Easy crockpot pulled pork, from My Baking Addiction
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