Last week’s dalliance with tamarind has led to this week’s focus on Major Grey chutney.
Indian cuisine has hundreds of kinds of chutneys, from sour and tart to yogurt-based condiments served with bread. Since I have rarely had access to any of those, I’ve developed a long-time crush on the English interpretation of chutney – Major Grey’s. There may or may not have been a Major Grey stationed in India, who thought to combine green mango, vinegar, tamarind, mustard, chilis and whatnot to create the spicy, sweet sauce we see on the grocery stores today.
Whether he existed, or is just pals with the Pillsbury Doughboy and Aunt Jemima, he has left us a lovely condiment, suitable for our American palates. My theory is that Brits and Americans like mango chutney because it goes so well with cheese and meat. We like meat. The other thousands of recipes for chutney in India show off their vegetarian dishes much better.
Chutney’s tartness is an across-the-board equalizer. Use it instead of relish on a salty hotdog and you may never go back to the green stuff again. It plays well with cream cheese or grilled cheese and sparks up a roast or chicken.
Now, I could easily make my own mango chutney – green mangos are easier to find these days with the proliferation of international grocery stores, and it’s as easy to can as any preserve. But – and this is hard to admit – although I like the idea of canning, I’m afraid of all that lid popping and boiling water and ugh, don’t want to spend hours chopping things up. There, if you haven’t turned away in disgust at my confession, here’s another reason. I don’t have anywhere to store jars and jars of the stuff and like many spicy, bold things, chutney is better enjoyed one small dose at a time. So, even if it comes off a shelf, chutney will be serving up a whallop of flavor around here this fall and winter. Here are couple of recipes that just might start your own love affair:
Cheater’s Peach Chutney
1 15-ounce can pickled peaches, drained, but reserve juice
2 green onions
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. tamarind juice
Remove the pits from the peaches if necessary. Put peaches, 1 Tbsp. juice, and the remaining ingredients in a food processer and pulse briefly until coursely chopped. If chutney is too thick, add more pickling juice. Place in a glass container, cover and chill for at least 8 hours before serving.
Chutney Roasted Potato Salad
3 Russet potatoes
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mango chutney
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
2 cups of lightly packed arugala (rocket) greens
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat potatoes, then place them in a large baking pan. Roast the potatoes for 30-35 minutes, until they are tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, place chutney, lemon juice and curry powder in a food processor and pulse two to three times to creat a chunky sauce. Place hot potatoes in serving bowl and toss with half the chutney dressing. Add arugala and toss gently. Serve with remaining dressing.