Slow cooked sweetly savory fruit chutney is undoubtedly British inspired. Fresh Indian chutney is often more of a sauce than a relish and doesn’t necessarily include vinegar or even fruit. The more commonly known Western style chutney made with vinegar, sugar and spices first start appearing in recipes in the 1600s in English cooking.
Cooking fruit condenses the sugars and intensifies the flavors which makes the range of sweet and sour notes in plums an ideal chutney candidate. Italian prune plums are perfect for cooking with because they are high in sugar and hold their shape, but any plums will make an outstanding chutney. As a purely aesthetic bonus, plum chutney made with Italian prune plums makes a gorgeous jewel toned condiment. Use ripe but still firm plums to keep the chutney from becoming too jammy.
Plum chutney is one of the most versatile condiments to make; particularly when you need a last minute appetizers. It complements just about any Indian inspired dishes, but it can also be the base for a dip, spread, or sauce. It pairs well on crackers, bread or papadums alone or with a range of cheeses including cheddar, camembert, blue, goat or even ricotta cheese (homemade ricotta would make a killer combo). Try plum chutney, with or without dried or fresh cranberries added, for a memorable replacement or addition to the traditional cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table. Make a grilled cheddar and plum chutney cheese sandwich and it may just transform your way of making grilled cheese!
Don’t let the list of ingredients in the plum chutney recipe scare you off. Most are pretty basic pantry staples. Once they’re assembled, the chutney comes together in around a half hour. This is a small batch recipe meant to be in the refrigerator for a week or two. I often make double the recipe and freeze it for a couple months to have on hand…particularly before the holiday season.
Plum Chutney Recipe
makes ~6 cups
4 cups plums (about 2 pounds)
2/3 cup small diced red onion
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup currants (or golden raisins, dried cranberries or drid cherries)
¼ diced candied ginger
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp mustard seed
½ tsp curry powder
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring all the ingredients to the boil.
- Reduce to low heat and cook for 25 to 35 minutes until chutney thickens and becomes syrupy. When the plums are not broken down completely and chutney is able to hold its shape on a spoon it’s done. It will firm up more as it cools.
- Use within about 2 weeks in refrigerator or freeze for about 3 months.