Monday, December 5, 2011

Cranberry Jalapeno Chutney

I'm going to go ahead and call this a chutney. Since this blog is kind of a confession, I will admit to you this - I'm not sure if it would traditionally be called a chutney, but from what I gather from the Food Network, I'm at least not far off. And it sounds fancier than salsa or sauce. Right? I look forward to the day that I have time to spend learning - hopefully even at culinary school. I think a huge part of going from a home cook to a professional chef is techniques that I don't have names for. My style of cooking being a bit more like MacGyver and less like Sameh Wadi of Saffron here in Minneapolis, but hey! It works.

Anyway, when I went to make an appetizer for Thanksgiving I was drawn to the idea of doing cranberries and cheese. Originally, I expected to just spread the cranberry relish that my mom makes every year onto cream cheese and, voila - appetizer. But, then I got inspired and came up with the Cranberry Jalapeno Chutney, and boy am I glad I did. It is so fresh tasting and an easy twist on the classic cranberry sauce (unless you're used to the canned kind, and then, no, it's not like that :). 

I made a Brie en Croute using the chutney and it was a big hit. I'll be making it again for Christmas, the colors and flavors are really perfect for the holiday season. Don't be afraid of the jalapenos, either. The flavor is more a "green" taste than a spicy one. There is very little heat to it, but the jalapeno adds to the mint and contrasts the tart juicy cranberries perfectly. And, this could stand alone as a sauce, too - slathered on leftover turkey for a little sandwich, instead of gravy or on glazed ham - amazing. And the colors and the aromas are so vibrant and perfect for this time of year. 

Cranberry Jalapeno Chutney

You Will Need:
  • Medium Sized Saucepan
  • Zester
  • Citrus Squeezer
  • Small Cutting Board
  • Small Knife
  • 1 Pint Whole, Fresh Cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw - I think it makes a nice difference, but not necessary!)
  • Small Handful of Fresh Mint (about 6 leaves)
  • 2 Jalapenos (they were on the small side, couple inches long)
  • 3 Scallions (if using it just for a sauce, chop into the green to top after cooking)
For the Brie en Croute:
  • Puff Pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Your Favorite Brie Cheese
  1. Wash fruit and mint
  2. Add water and cranberries to saucepan and set to medium heat
  3. Add orange and lime zest
  4. Add orange juice and pulp
  5. Add lime juice (try not to use pulp, it tends to be too bitter)
  6. Add sugar and stir
  7. Mince mint leaves and add
  8. De-seed and finely chop jalapenos and add to saucepan
  9. Chop scallions into thin rings and add
  10. Bring to boil and reduce on medium low heat
  11. Let cool at room temperature and place in fridge or serve warm
  12. For Brie en Croute:
    1. Set oven to 400 degrees
    2. Roll out pastry dough or cut to fit (I used a bit of extra dough for the angel and dusted it with cinnamon)
    3. Spread the chutney over the dough in the middle
    4. Place the brie on top
    5. Fold in corners and flip over onto a cookie sheet (spray or use foil or parchment paper)
    6. Brush with an egg wash (tablespoon of water and an egg)
    7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden


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