I can feel the collective eye rolling and lip muttering, all the way across ye old world wide web. Chutney? Really? A southwestern chutney? Have they lost their marbles?
Well, perhaps, but that’s a whole different conversation.
Before you start grumbling that we’ve gone all hoity-toity at Chile Trail HQ, let me stop you. A chutney is simply fruit and/or vegetables with spices, vinegar and sugar. That’s it. And that’s exactly what this is: three different chiles, red peppers, tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Oh and some fresh ginger.
In this festive season, we like to think of the chiles as the three kings of this recipe. We’ve got chipotle, habanero and ancho. Chipotle comes in like a smoking powerhouse, all puffed up and pumped. Habanero slides in with citrus notes, lulls you into a false sense of security, then hits you with a hot smack on the lips. Ancho sighs and tsk’s tsk’s at the show-offs, marvelling at its own self-restraint.
This chutney is sweet and sour and jammy and hot and if you don’t like it then our friendship is over. This makes three small jars if you feel like spreading the Christmas cheer or one large one if you’d like to hang out alone, content with a loaf of bread, some goat’s cheese and your own southwestern chutney.
Chutney. There. I said it.
1 whole Ancho chile
1 whole Chipotle chile
1 whole Habanero chile
1” knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 long red peppers, about 12 oz., deseeded and chopped
14oz. can of crushed tomatoes
6 oz. sherry vinegar
12 oz./1 ½ cups sugar
Put the three chiles in a small bowl and cover with hot, almost boiling water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and pliable. Remove the stems and seeds and roughly chop.
Place the chopped ginger, garlic, red peppers, crushed tomatoes, chile peppers and sherry vinegar in a blender. Blitz on high speed until pureed.
Pour the puree into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 40-45 minutes until reduced and jammy. Some scum may form on the surface. Don’t panic — just skim that off. Pour into sterilized glass jars and seal.