Chutney is a wonderful thing. It’s sweet but it’s tangy. Chunky yet tender. Like all good supporting players, it lends its talents unselfishly to the star of the show – be it a spicy, hot curry or a layered sandwich. Fig chutney strikes me as especially Christmas-y. With subtle hints of cinnamon, star anise and red wine, it’s similar in flavor to a mug of mulled cider. This is an easy and quick chutney to have in your refrigerator for when the lead actor needs a little delicious support.
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 6 oz. packages dried Calimyrna figs, roughly chopped
Heat vegetable broth in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the shallots and saute until soft. Add maple sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the red wine, orange juice, apple juice, cinnamon stick, star anise and the spices. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until syrupy, about 15 minutes. Add figs; stir to coat.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until figs are soft, 10-15 minutes more.
Let mixture cool, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor and process until figs are broken down, but still chunky. Transfer to a food-safe container and store in the refrigerator.
(This recipe, with modifications, comes from Bon Appetit. I halved the amount of sugar and used maple instead of refined sugar. I cooked the shallots in vegetable broth instead of oil and added a bit of apple juice.)