Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Treat: Cranberry-Apple Chutney

I’ve always been on the lookout for special side dishes to add to our traditional holiday celebrations. I’ve loved them all—but, I must admit, most guests passed them by.

Take Brussels sprouts, a dish that evolved in our kitchen over the years, from boiled sprouts with a tomato-cheese sauce, to a simpler boiled sprouts with stewed tomatoes, to the more recent roasted sprouts. Yes, they’re delicious, but … unappreciated.

Another addition was rutabaga, boiled and then mashed with either butter or cream. I salivate at the mere thought, though my cardiologist doubtless would give two-thumbs down. Again, most guests don’t reach for the serving spoon. Rutabagas don’t even get respect at our local supermarket. Last year, the checker asked me what it was. I answer, “Rutabaga.” With raised eyebrow she flipped through her code chart and then shook her head no. I suggested “Swede” as an antique possibility but got another no. Oh how embarrassing for the humble rutabaga when the clerk found it listed as “Yellow Turnip.”

This year’s newbie is Cranberry-Apple Chutney. I’ve already done a test-run and, shockingly, my fellow adults really like the stuff. It’s so good that those without diet discipline will sneak a treat between meals.

Chutney has been absent from our family table for a couple of generations. I have dim memories of saying “No thanks” to chutney when I was a child visiting elderly relatives for a traditional roast-goose Christmas dinner. The chutney appeared in a small cut-glass bowl and looked like lumpy axel grease and smelled like oniony vinegar. Yuck, I thought.

You probably smile in disbelief at that description from the 1940s if you’re familiar with colorful and tangy chutneys that are created in India and the Caribbean.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney is colorful—think cranberries. Tart Granny Smith apples, golden raisins, onion, and pecans add to the flavor and texture. And it’s tangy courtesy of such traditional chutney spices as ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.

Other than 5-star taste, another plus is that it refrigerates well so I’ll make it a day or two before Thanksgiving. It takes only about a half hour.

If you like a spicy food in the flavorful, not hot, sense, I recommend you try this holiday treat.

For an online recipe, CLICK HERE.

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