PHOTO BY KERRYGOLD
IRELAND HOPPING | By Margaret M. Johnson
By definition, chutney is relish-like sauce made with fruit, sugar, spices, and vinegar. It was often made to give late summer and autumn fruits a long shelf life and was used to add contrasting flavor to meats, especially poultry and game. Nowadays you’ll find chutney served alongside hard cheese and cold meats in a ploughman’s lunch, on a cheese board, with pâté, or with deep-fried soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert. Let the chopping begin!
PLOUGHMAN’S LUNCH WITH TOMATO CHUTNEY
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A ploughman’s lunch is a traditional salad made with sliced meats — most often chicken, turkey, ham, or roast beef — and cheese; you can also include smoked fish like salmon or trout. Slices of apple or pear, tomatoes, or cucumbers are standard accompaniments, along with coleslaw and, my favorite, this tomato chutney. Serve it with a slices of soda bread, dark wheat or pumpernickel, or a piece of crusty baguette. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette.
For the chutney
2 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
1½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 pounds plum tomatoes
3 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup golden raisins
For the salad
Handful of mixed salad greens
8 to 12 slices of honey baked ham, cut into triangles
8 to 12 slices of cheddar cheese, cut into triangles
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, sliced
Wholegrain mustard, for serving
Bread, for serving
1. Make chutney. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, cardamom, ginger, mustard seeds, and cloves. Slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
2. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and raisins; simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until mixture thickens. As skins separate from tomatoes, remove and discard.
3. Use now, or spoon into clean jars or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
4. To compose salad. Divide mixed greens among four salad plates; drizzle with vinaigrette. Arrange 2 to 3 slices of meat and 2 to 3 slices of cheese on top of greens and garnish with tomato wedges, red onion, carrot, cucumber, and olives. Spoon chutney into a ramekin and serve it with salad and slices of bread.
DEEP-FRIED BRIE WITH PEAR-CRANBERRY CHUTNEY
This sweet-tart chutney is delicious with deep-fried cheese, but you might want to serve it with your Thanksgiving turkey!
For the chutney
3 cups white wine vinegar
3 cups brown sugar
2 large onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 pounds firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
For the cheese
1 cup plain breadcrumbs or Panko
Two 8-ounce rounds Camembert or Brie, each cut into 6 wedges
1 large egg, beaten
Canola oil for frying
Mixed salad greens for garnish
1. Make chutney. In a large saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, onions, ginger, and cinnamon to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until mixtures starts to thicken. Add pears, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until pears are tender and most of liquid has evaporated.
2. Remove from heat and stir in salt and cranberries; let cool completely. Use now, or spoon into clean jars or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
3. Make cheese. Sift flour onto large plate and coat cheese on all sides. Dip into egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. In a deep fryer or skillet, heat oil to about 350° F. Gently lower wedges into oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides, or until golden. With a slotted spoon, remove cheese to paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4. To serve, spoon chutney into ramekins, arrange salad on plates, and top with wedges of cheese.
TEA-INFUSED APPLE CHUTNEY
Makes 2 cups
Alison McArdle is the proprietor of Cupán Tae, a shop with locations in both Galway and Westport that specializes in, you guessed it, all types of tea and tea-infused goodies. She offered this delightful recipe for apple chutney for my soon-to-be-released Teatime in Ireland cookbook. For her afternoon tea service, she serves it on honey baked ham and apple sandwiches and uses her own Emerald Isle tea, a full-bodied blend with tastes of whiskey, cocoa, and a touch of vanilla — a mix that evokes memories of the West of Ireland — but you can substitute your personal favorite tea.
5 tablespoons Emerald Isle tea, or your favorite black tea
1 1/3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 pounds apples, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups raisins
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine tea and vinegar. Heat for about 3 minutes, and then remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Return saucepan to medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, raisins, mustard seed, onion, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let mixture cool in pan. Use now, or spoon into clean jars or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” Her newest cookbook, Teatime in Ireland, will be published later this year! For further details on her work or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com.