Chutneys are one of the most underrated accoutrements in the United States, and this spicy apple chutney is a perfect, easy introduction to a spread that will find its way into many of your dishes.
We have India to thank for chutneys, and it is used in a wide variety of dishes, most often to balance a dish or to spotlight a specific flavor. As the condiment spread across the world, cultures have adapted the premise to fit local produce and palates.
A chutney is made by reducing a fruit, vegetable, or herb with sugar and vinegar, and the result can be sweet or savory. This spicy apple chutney is a little of both, but it pairs best with savory dishes such as meat or sandwiches.
I have never been much of a sandwich fan, but I appreciate the utility of a quick-to-prepare and portable food. Chutney will turn up an otherwise bland sandwich to make it seem like a treat rather than a blah staple that you just begrudgingly pull out of your lunchbox at noon.
You may see prepared chutneys available in the Indian food section of your local grocery store, but they are usually pricey – often upwards of $5 for a small jar. With just a bit of time, you can give chutney a try for a fraction of the cost. The most expensive piece of this recipe is the two apples!
When selecting the apple for this recipe, be aware of the intrinsic traits of the apple you choose and how it will impact the final product. I used two pink lady apples because I like a sweet apple that maintains a bit of texture after being subject to heat.
For many people, the go-to baking apple is the Granny Smith, and that is a fine option for this recipe, but the final product will be correspondingly tart.
- 2 apples
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- ¼ cup minced white onion
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup golden raisins
Peel and dice the apples into ½-inch chunks. Pour the orange juice over the apples and set aside.
Peel and mince fresh ginger and the white onion.
Place a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven with oil over low heat. Add the ginger, onion, salt, ground mustard, cumin, and chile flakes to the pot, and cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Add the apples, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the raisins and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat when the mixture is thick and soft.
Note: If you want super spicy chutney, increase your spices to 1 full teaspoon chile flakes and 2 teaspoons cumin. The extra-spice version goes nicely with a cool sandwich.
Store the chutney in a glass jar or container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve at room temperature or warm.
This chutney goes very nicely with Brie. The cool softness of the cheese balances the heat from the spices and bite from the ginger. You can put a dip bowl of chutney on a charcuterie, or use it as a sandwich spread.
Halve a loaf of French bread and top with the chutney and Brie. You can also add additional apple slices to add a bit of crunch. Then combine the two halves and enjoy! Alternatively, place the open halves under the broiler for a few minutes.
Chutneys are also great accompaniments for meat, especially white meat that may be a little bland. Try topping chicken breasts, pork chops, or pork tenderloin with this particular chutney. Even better – stuff the chicken breast with Brie and then top with chutney.
Once you start adding chutneys to your normal fare, you will see how versatile they are. Happy eating!
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