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.