Alright, so what is chutney and why did I decide to spend three hours making it? When I think chutney, I think India (though I do not recall having anything similar to it while there). It does typically have Indian spices and ingredients (i.e. mango chutney flavored sometimes with cumin/coriander/etc). There's a lot of room for variation, which makes me excited to give it another go. In briefer terms, I'd call it the Indian version of salsa.
When I saw the recipe on a blog, I realized it would be a good way for me to use up the rest of my squash. And I actually had all of the ingredients necessary to make it, except that I used balsamic vinegar instead of white wine. (Thus the crazy black color of the sauce.)
Unfortunately, this hors d'ouevre is not about instant gratification. The chutney will be sitting in my fridge for a couple weeks while the vinegar ferments. I'll give you an update in March, but so far it looks delicious even if it doesn't smell so. Squash Chutney: 1/2 butternut squash
4 medium cooking apples (OK, all I had were Galas, whatever)
1/2 large onion
1 1/2 cups raisins (red or white, currants or sultanas)
2 cups combination of brown and white sugar (the recipe I followed used more white than brown, I just happend to measure out more brown than white, I'll let you know in a couple weeks if that was a bad thing)
2 cups vinegar (using different vinegars will lend a different flavor, I predict that balsamic will be very overpowering of the rest of the spices, I think the choice would depend on what other ingredients were in the chutney and what vinegar you had on hand, probably don't use whatever you've got under your kitchen sink, unless it's a last resort)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Peel and finely chop squash, apples and onion. This may take a while, so turn on some music. I recommend cooking to Jamie Cullum or the new Andrew Bird.
Toss the fruit and vegetables into a big ol' pot. Pour in your vinegar, sugar, herbs and spices. Bring it all to a boil then reduce to a simmer. It may appear that you don't have enough liquid to boil and properly cook everything. Don't worry, the fruit and vegs will cook down almost immediately. So simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring periodically. Warning: Do not stick your nose straight above the pot, the vinegar will burn. It's done when the sauce is thickened about to the consistency of molasses.
Matt Wright served this with a baguette and soft cheese, and it makes me want to eat it through the computer screen. Variations will be the best part of this dish. Tomatoes, mangos, apparently coconut is popular, citrus, I nearly added garlic to this one. And then there's the herbs and spices. I think a citrus chutney would be good with some jalapeno. I mused for a moment about putting in some mushrooms but decided against it.