Fresh Fig Chutney

This tangy-sweet relish is great to keep on hand for making quick appetizers — spread toasty crostini with a little fresh mascarpone or soft goat cheese and top with a dab of chutney. It’s delicious served with roasted lamb or baked ham, too.

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups red wine vinegar
1 pound light brown sugar
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 lemon (or orange), zested
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 1/2 – 3 pounds firm, fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and halved (don’t use overly ripe figs)

METHOD:

In a heavy-bottomed stock pan, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, onion, jalapeno pepper, ginger, mustard seeds, lemon (or orange) zest, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice, cloves and pepper flakes and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and is reduced by half. The mixture should be a thick syrup.

Add the golden raisins and figs and cook gently until the figs are very soft and beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

Ladle hot chutney into hot sterilized canning jars and process in a hot-water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.

YIELD: 5 pints