Apricot Chutney Recipe

The frozen apricots in the share two weeks ago were turned into a fabulous chutney to add to couscous, vegetables, veggie burgers or even chicken or pork dishes.  Apricots are sweet and would have normally gone into a jam or sweet spread, but after eating all the Thanksgiving pies I needed to have a more savory flavor.  I went through the sauce sections of my favorite cookbooks and remembered this recipe for a peach and five-spice chutney.  Apricots work well in place of the peaches and the chutney is not as quite a sweet as with the ripe peaches.  A chutney is also a good thing to make with frozen fruit because you do not need the texture of the fruit for the sauce.

This chutney called for an essential ingredient, five-spice powder.  It is available as a blended spice or you can make your own easily.  A traditional ingredient is Sichuan pepper that is from a flower and not a peppercorn like white or black pepper.  It is used in several Asian cooking techniques for the ability to set a stage for hot ingredients with the more mild and lemony flavor.  Perfect to match with ginger or star anise.  I could not find the Sichuan pepper for my chutney and substituted white peppercorns for their more mild flavor than black pepper.  I purchased most of the spices from the Coop bulk spice aisle.  Here is a recipe from the Vegetarian Planet cookbook by Didi Emmons that I used as a base for five-spice.  Since making the chutney, I have also used the five-spice powder in ginger snaps, with grilled chicken and in a rice vegetable side dish.

1/4 cup white peppercorns (or Sichuan pepper)

12 whole star anise (Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage has these at a good price)

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cloves

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Place all whole spices in a pan and heat until you can smell the spices.  Let cool.  Grind the spices in a “spice only” coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Apricot and Five-Spice Chutney

Adapted by Amy from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons

1-1/5 lb apricots, thawed in the fridge

1 cup chopped sweet or yellow onion

1 tblsp fresh minced ginger

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

Saute the onions until soft.  Add the spices and ginger and cook for a minute.  Add all other ingredients and turn heat to low for one hour.  Stir every 10-15 minutes.  Use a potato masher or immersion blender to get a somewhat smooth texture with a few lumps of delicious apricot.  Let the chutney cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

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