When some free figs came into my kitchen (whoo hoo!!) I knew that they were going into a chutney tout suite. David Lebovitz's recipe looked great but it was boosted with a little more ginger and my favorite chile powder, Kashmiri, for its gorgeous taste and color. (Yes, hard to find except in Indian stores. Stock up on it, you'll love it too!)
My family had already fallen in love with Pear Chutney from this recipe which I made a few days later and canned them all at once to save water (we are in a severe drought!) And we are flying through both of them. So there will definitely be more fig chutney making in my future.
And as you can see from the picture, smearing fig (or pear) chutney on soft cheeses like chevre or brie is highly addictive as well. Double that recipe, you won't regret it!
Like so many delicious things, figs are in season for only a short while, so grab them while you can. Ignore the price and remind yourself they are like christmas or your birthday - a once a year event!
Fig Chutney (adapted from David Lebovitz)
(makes 2 half pint jars)
1 lb figs, stemmed and chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2/3 cup palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 inch stick of cinnamon
3 allspice seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon kashmiri chile powder (or substitute pinch red pepper flakes)
In a mortar and pestle, grind allspice and cloves until powdered. Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes until onion begins to soften. Add chile powder, mustard seeds, allspice and cloves and salt and saute 2 minutes until incorporated in onion mixture. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to boil and then turn down to medium simmer and allow mixture to cook down into a jam like consistency, about 20-30 minutes. Taste for salt and spoon into clean sterilized canning jars. If you want to make the chutney shelf stable, process in a water bath for 15 minutes (counting the minutes from when the water comes to full boil with jars in the canning pot). Allow to cool for 24 hours. Label and store.