This Thanksgiving, I’m adding an array of chutneys to my holiday spread as a way to jazz up the traditional meal with simmered combinations of fruits or veggies. Chutneys are the perfect accompaniment to long roasted, rich turkey or braised meats because their vinegary bases help to balance the fat of heavier proteins and side dishes.
This selection of chutneys cover a range of flavors to please any palate. With that in mind, I simmered one sweet, one savory and one spicy condiment. They make use of seasonal ingredients and readily available herbs and spices. Best of all, they come together in one pot and with little fuss. And each of these combinations will be tastier and more nuanced when prepared in advance.
Sweet Cranberry and Cherry Chutney
This chutney hints at Thanksgiving tradition with ruby red cranberries, nuts and dried fruit. It is believed that cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Serve this Cranberry and Cherry Chutney alongside roasted meat, turkey or chicken. Add a few tablespoons to mayonnaise and use as a spread on lightly toasted challah for turkey sandwiches with leftovers from your feast. Or place this chutney in a small serving dish alongside creamy, mild cheeses as a sweet element on a cheese plate.
Note: This chutney has a very strong vinegar odor when it’s simmering. The first time I made this, I was alarmed by the strength of the vinegary presence. After it’s cooked, cooled and refrigerated, the vinegar- sugar- honey combination settles into a perfectly balanced, slightly sweet condiment for your holiday meal.
2 cups dried tart cherries
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup raisins or currants
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp water (or a little more if the pan appears too dry)
Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart. saucepan over medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring well.
Cranberries should burst open. The texture should be slightly sticky and chunky, with little liquid remaining after the simmer. Chutney will continue to thicken as it cools.
Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.
Savory Cauliflower and Lentil Chutney
This vegetable and legume based chutney doesn’t include any added sweetness, making it a welcome savory addition to a holiday meal that tends to include lots of sweet flavors. It’s warm spices and toasted undertones provide unexpected flavors next to traditional dishes like sweet or mashed potatoes. This dish could easily be the star dish for vegetarians at your table.
Serve alongside turkey leftovers or as a condiment with pan-seared fish. If using this as a main dish for vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, be sure to make stuffing without chicken or turkey broth so that they may enjoy stuffing with this savory chutney.
¼ cup good olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp ras- el- hanout*
½ tsp mustard powder
1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups cauliflower florets, small pieces
1 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes
½ cup water
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp paprika
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves- minced
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
*Middle Eastern spice mix found at well stocked markets like Whole Foods or at online on Amazon
Heat oil and add onion, shallot and ginger until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Add ras-el-hanout and mustard powder and stir, cooking one minute.
Rinse and examine lentils for particles of debris. Remove if found. Add lentils and wine to onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and cook 10 minutes.
Add cauliflower, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and paprika.
Cover and cook over medium heat, covered, for 20-25 minutes until lentils and cauliflower are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally. Add ¼- ½ cup more water if chutney appears dry.
Cool mixture and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
May be refrigerated for up to one week in airtight container. Serve at room temperature.
¼ cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
⅛ tsp each, salt and pepper
½-1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed and finely chopped (do not touch eyes or mouth when handling this pepper)
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsplight brown sugar
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
2 Tb. dark raisins
1 Tb. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tb. basil leaves, chopped
1 lime- juiced
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, onion and cook until softened.
Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, jalapeno, salt and pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the honey, brown sugar and raisins and cook for 2-3 minutes until caramelized.
Stir in fresh and canned tomatoes and vinegar. Simmer for 40-45 minutes in uncovered pot. Add a bit of water if mixture appears too dry. Texture should be jammy.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, basil and lime juice. Taste to season with additional cayenne, salt or pepper.
Cool and place in sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.
I suggest serving this chutney alongside turkey or roasted chicken. It’s super as a spread on a brisket sandwich or serve alongside guacamole with toasted pita chips. Consider using this spicy tomato chutney swirled into a half cup of extra virgin olive oil as a sauce over your favorite pasta.
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Pronounced: KHAH-luh, Origin: Hebrew, ceremonial bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.