Mango Chutney is one of those things that I absolutely love but when I see it in the store I go into spasms over the price. Six dollars! Or more! A tiny jar! I cannot bring myself to do it. Just can't. So I was living a chutney-free existence until I happened to be flipping through a Women's Institute cookbook at my sister-in-law's house (Hi! How are the chickens doing?) and saw how easy it looked to make. Which is exactly what I did, and have had cabinets overflowing with mango chutney deliciousness ever since.
Alton has a recipe (macadamia nuts? really?), and there are plenty of others out there, but what I want is undiluted mango, so no cutting down with apples or raisins for me. I admit, when it's mango chutney time I hit Walmart and get the dollar mangoes. The organic ones are nice, but at $2.50 a pop, that adds up. Since mangoes are one of the low pesticide fruits anyway, I just make sure I wash them thoroughly and call it good.
Because the mangoes are the main expense, this means you can make more than a quart of chutney for less than $10.
While mango chutney is the usual condiment for Indian foods. there are other uses too. Think about a roast chicken or turkey or even ham sandwich with sharp cheddar and a lovely respectable-sized slather of mango chutney on lovely whole-grain bread. Or use as a glaze on chicken or ham the next time you bake.
900 g onions (2 large)
2100 g mangoes (6 medium)
3 tablespoons pickling spices (you can get this in the bulk section in health food stores)
2 cups vinegar (I used a mix of white and cider)
1 large orange, zest and juice
1/4 cup each minced ginger and garlic
2 1/2 cups sugar (I used raw but white is fine)
ground pepper to taste
Peel and chop the mangoes. I try to select a mixture of ripe and green mangoes, and have both fine and thicker slices (about 2 mm to 3 mm) because the riper, thinner slices will disintegrate while cooking and the larger slices will remain intact. If you like smoother mango chutney pick riper mangoes and chop finely. If you like coarser chutney, pick greener mangoes and chop thicker.
Put half of the chopped mango into a large pot. Finely chop the onions and put all into the pot with the half of the mangoes. Put the pickling spices into a muslin bag, tied firmly, and add to the pot with the vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for about 20 minutes, lid on, until the onions are soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
Add the orange juice, zest and remaining sliced mango and simmer for another 5 minutes. At this point I fish out the bag of pickling spices. Add the ginger, garlic, sugar and pepper. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, and then simmer on low with the lid off until the chutney is thick, 45 to 60 minutes.
Stores for up to a year in a cool, dark place.
Make it pioneer: add 1 tablespoon curry powder with the garlic and ginger.
Make it Jersey: add 1 teaspoon hot chile flakes with the garlic and ginger.
Make it rock & roll: add 10 whole cardamom pods to the pot along with the pickling spices. I leave them in when I can the chutney, but you can fish them out first if you want. Don't eat these, though.
Canned still-life: two jars of mango chutney with quince jelly, strawberry black raspberry jam, bergamot ruby red grapefruit marmalade, and Seville orange marmalade.