Thanks to the smell of homemade plum chutney my place smelled amazingly cozy for a dismal, rainy summer day. Plum chutney has got to be the most tasty sweet-and-tangy spreads out there. It’s perfect for serving with grilled or roasted meats, a cheese platter or get this, as a spread to give your next sandwich a flavorful punch.
Approaching the end of summer, I am actually quite happy (and sad!) to be introducing what could be considered the first of this year’s fall-inspired recipes. Yes, fall is all about eating warm, comforting foods, and for me, something that happens on weekends when I am comfortably wearing an old pair of jeans and an extra-soft oversized sweater — all the while listening to one of my currently favorite bands out of Dublin — Kodaline. They have two amazing albums. A song I particularly love is “All I Want” — and not to distract you from getting to the good stuff, like making chutney, I’ve included the VIDEO at the end of this page. :)
This was my first time making chutney and the recipe is so incredibly easy to make and the results are well…simply put…amazing! The inspiration comes from my favorite Schwabe’s friend Ulle’s homemade rhubarb chutney recipe which I have been wanting to try for ages. But since I missed the boat with rhubarb season, I decided to use fresh, seasonal plums and considering the only thing I like about raisins or sultanas, is that they stem from the same vine that bears wine, I switched them out too.
Here’s how I deviated from the original:
- rhubarb = plums
- sultanas = dried sour cherries (unsweetened)
- powdered ginger = freshly grated ginger
- brown sugar = organic raw cane sugar Mascobado
The plums I used are called “Zwetschge”, a popular European-style plum (also referred to as Italian Prune Plum or Empress Plum). You’ll recognize as them as the small, dense plums with a dark blueish or purple skin. They hold their form really well so make a great chunky style chutney.
We enjoyed this chutney with roasted duck breasts, something that happens about once a year. Mostly when I am in Geneva visiting my friend Magali. She’s the French queen of roasting duck. Not only does she have an amazing terrace for entertaining, but her barbecue is fitted with a marble slab that makes for a fantastic cooking stone! My dear Schwabe and I, on the other hand, in our city dweller apartment “sans balcon” roasted the duck in a enameled cast iron skillet. Très bien.
The method for pan-roasting a duck breast is easy. In a nutshell, all you need to do is:
1) Score the the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper.
2) In a little oil, cook the duck breast, skin-side down, for 15-20 mins (depending on the size of the duck breast), until the skin is crisp and brown.
3) Flip the breast over, cook on the flesh side for 3-4 minutes until browned, then turn off the heat.
4) Let the duck rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then slice at an angle and serve. Voila! So easy. Serve with plum chutney and a side of steamed vegetables and enjoy!
If you are still not sure, here’s is a great resource for showing you exactly how to pan-roast a duck breast.
Be sure to bookmark this recipe, you may just find it’s the perfect complement your next Christmas dinner. Enjoy!
Makes 3 jars.
500 g plums, pitted and coarsely chopped (about 24 small plums)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (125 g)
1 cup dried sour cherries (100 g)
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2/3 cup soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado) (100 g)
1) In a large saucepan, combine the plums, onion, dried cherries, mustard seeds, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and peppers. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cook for a few minutes then add the sugar. Stir until combined and the sugar has dissolved.
2) Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chutney thickens and chunky sauce forms, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
3) Transfer into glass jars with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.