Sunday, January 9, 2011

Apricot Pear Chutney

I’ve fallen in love. With a cookbook, that is. I just discovered Rebecca Katz’s The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and can’t put it down. This is another wonderful cookbook that challenges the notion that eating healthy is boring. It’s chock full of healthy, flavorful recipes, many of them accompanied by mouth-watering photos. There’s so much here I didn’t know where to begin!
The first recipe I tried was an Apricot Pear Chutney. I wanted something to use as a sweet garnish to go with the Root Vegetable Soup I made and I thought this would work nicely. I used the last two pears from a box of Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David’s and it came out fantastic–good enough to eat it with a spoon.
As she suggests in her book, this chutney would work well with chicken, a nice goat cheese and crackers, and I’m thinking with quinoa, couscous, or even with a simple spinach salad. I made one substitution: I used an Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar that I just discovered at Trader Joe’s instead of brown rice vinegar and I loved the result. I also omitted the red pepper flakes. Also, my measurements are a little different; based on the original rations, some of mine may be slightly more or less. And if you’re fighting a sweet tooth, know that most of the sweetness in this compote comes from the fruit.

Apricot Pear Chutney 

2 large pears
¾ c chopped, dried unsulfured apricots
½ t lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
2 T vinegar, such as brown rice or Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar
2 T maple syrup
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ t fresh grated ginger
½ t sea salt
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground allspice
½ t ground cardamom
1 pod star anise

Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid thickens enough to coat the fruit. If the pears are very ripe to begin with (which mine were), leave the cover off and cook for ~25 – 30 minutes. If they are not so ripe, partially cover the pan and lengthen the cook time to ~45 – 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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