Pumpkin, apricot and almond Chutney
Chutneys have only recently become popular in Greece, although dried and fresh fruit are used often in dishes and some traditional fruit leathers might be served with cheeses, the concept of savory marmalade, as I often have to describe it, is still quite new. When I recently made a batch for a school bazaar, reaction followed a straight line from skepticism, through enthusiasm after a quick taste, then straight to the question “so where are you from”. Quite aptly, as I am indeed half Irish.
What I enjoy most about chutneys, apart from their intense taste, is the way you can open a jar and put together an interesting and complex snack in the minutes with just a few ingredients. Like this grilled Talagani cheese with Chutney, ready in a few minutes.
I also enjoy the slow process of filling our cellar, on slow, lazy afternoons. A key factor in driving yourself up the wall or tiring yourself out is to just aim at filling a few jars at the time instead of trying to process huge amounts in a day. You don’t really save yourself any trouble or time. At the end of the day I would feel tired with a bombed-out kitchen.
- 450 gr. Pumpkin
- 600 ml cider vinegar
- 450 gr. brown sugar
- 225 gr. sultanas
- 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange, unwaxed
- 2 tbsps salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 tsp mild chili pepper
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 125 gr. blanched almonds
Peel and remove any seeds from the pumpkin. Cut the flesh into 2.5 cm pieces. Use a large, wide, preferably shallow pot with a thick bottom, or ideally a maslin pan. Add the cider vinegar and sugar and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add all the ingredients except the almonds, carefully. Stir well and bring the mixture back to the boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about an hour until the mixture becomes soft and thick. In the beginning when the mixture is still runny, it does not need very frequent stirring. Towards the end, however, as it thickens, you will need to stir often and watch over it so it doesn’t catch and burn. It will be ready when drawing a wooden spoon through the mixture creates a clear trail which fills up slowly. Add the almonds, stir and remove from the heat.
Using a sterile metal funnel with wide spout, fill the warm sterilized jars, cover with the lids, close tightly and turn upside down. If you are using metal screw caps, make sure they have the special coating to make them vinegar safe. Your chutney will have matured in about 20 days but it can be preserved for months. Once you open it, keep it in the fridge. It accompanies cheeses and cold meats.