Fall apple recipes are a hit in almost every American household, especially here where apple trees dot pretty much every farm along the lakeshore. In fact, we have six of them!
I didn’t give much thought to what fall apple recipes I would be making when we moved here last October, and to be honest, I didn’t think that the trees we have would produce many apples. They are sooooo old! So old, in fact, that their trunks are hollow.
As far as producing apples? Boy, was I wrong! Apples galore can only mean one thing… it’s time to make a big batch (or two) of Spiced Apple Chutney.
Before diving into the recipe, let’s first talk some more about chutney.
What is chutney?
- Chutney originated in India.
- Chutney is a condiment.
- Chutney is best described in America as a cross between a jam and a relish.
- Chutney is savory.
- Chutney is made with fruits, vegetables, vinegar and spices.
Since chutney is primarily used to balance flavors or highlight one in particular, it has many uses. Chutneys can be made by blending the ingredients in a food processor and serving them fresh (usually the favored way to prepare chutneys with herbs), or by boiling them down to concentrate their flavors (more common with fruit chutneys). In traditional Indian cuisine, chutneys are served next to naan flatbreads, rice, dosa and curry dishes.
The inspiration behind this Spiced Apple Chutney Recipe:
I know, you might be asking me why I didn’t make apple pie when coming up with a recipe for all those apples. The truth is, I will probably not make what every one else is making this time of the year. (And if I do, I can guarantee you that it will have my own unique spin on it!) If you know me well, you know that I walk to the beat of my own drum.
In any case, apple chutney came to mind when I was trying to decide what to make with all the apples. This is for a few reasons: First, although I love apple pie, I am the type of person that will make what most other people around here won’t think of. (Yeah, I repeat myself sometimes!) Second, I am a big fan of Indian food (the country of chutney’s origin). Third, I just can’t get enough of all the fall recipes this time of year, so I may as well create another one.
Condiment recipes get used a lot in this house because I like to change things up when making sandwiches for Mark’s lunch. He loves sandwiches, I am not a big fan, so I wanted to come up with a way to make his lunches more interesting from day to day. I also needed motivation to make sandwiches for myself (because they are quick and easy and blogging is a full-time job!) To do this, I needed something that would make my sandwiches less boring or I’ll end up just skipping lunch on busy days.
Yeah, not good, I know.
Don’t get me wrong. Peanut butter and jelly has its place, and spreading fruit jam and mayo together with deli meat is never a bad call, but I wanted something that had a unique and memorable punch that would leave me wanting more.
Since chutney uses are many, you can get away with spreading chutney on sandwiches. My first experience was using Major Grey’s mango chutney on a ham and Swiss sandwich along with mayo. Oh, man did those flavors work well together! (Don’t believe me? Try it sometime! You’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before.)
The idea with Spiced Apple Chutney was to create a sweeter (but still savory) apple and onion chutney infused with warm autumn spices. I am all about the hygge around here, and since the days are getting cooler, grayer, and wetter, I can’t help but get the craving for the scents of warm autumn spices wafting through the house.
Spiced Apple Chutney Uses:
As a chutney, Spiced Apple Chutney is a little sweeter, so it makes a great accompaniment to your favorite autumn harvest dish. Think stuff like topping a juicy baked pork chop with it, or spooning a dollop on baked sweet potatoes. Spread it on pumpkin toast and have it with your morning coffee. Since this apple chutney pairs so well with cheese, feel free to serve it on your holiday cheese board.
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I can’t help but emphasize that this truly is the best chutney for cheese, especially if you need raciette party ideas or are looking for cheese platter ideas for parties. The warm spices and sweetness of the apples compliments brie quite nicely, especially if you serve it warm. If you like plum jam with brie as much as I do, then you are going to go crazy when this autumn chutney is spooned over it.
This apple relish chutney also makes a great dip if you need interesting buffet party food ideas for adults (but hey, I bet the kids will like it, too!) Set it out in a pretty dish with a fancy spoon alongside crostini and brie, crackers, or toast points and let everyone help themselves.
I can’t forget to mention dessert. Yes, spiced apple chutney can be used in dessert! It’s savory, yes, but have you heard of salted caramel? How about hot pepper chocolate? Spoon apple and onion chutney over vanilla ice cream. Serve it next to minced meat pie.
Oh my… YUM!
Making Spiced Apple Chutney:
Yeah, I know, it takes some time. But let’s get real here. Anything worth it in the food world will probably take some time. Don’t fret, however, because most of that time is spent as the chutney simmers over the stove. All you need to do once you’ve peeled, cut and cored all those apples is just stir it from time to time as it cooks.
This is why this is the perfect recipe to make on a rainy Sunday afternoon. While this autumn chutney cooks down, you can be folding your laundry, dusting the mantel, or decorating your house for the season, and since it makes your house smell like autumn apple spices while it cooks, you can create hygge at the same time while getting your chores done.
The ingredients for this chutney recipe are easy to get, too. Part of what I love about gourmet cooking is taking ordinary, common ingredients and turning them into unique and special dishes. I know, I keep saying it, but gourmet doesn’t have to involve hard-to-find, pricy ingredients.
Gourmet cooking also includes unique flavor profiles, methods of cooking, and presentation. The way I see it, if it tastes unique and wonderful and smells like heaven, it’s gourmet in my book!
Why I need more fall apple recipes:
Harvest time came around this year and so far, we’ve had 7 wheel barrels of apples fall off the trees. Most of them are already half eaten by bees or deer when we get to them, but we still had a full bushel of apples that made it into the kitchen this year.
A lot of people have asked me what kind of apples we have.
I am going to be honest. I am not entirely sure what kind of apples we have. They came with the house, and are many many decades old. One tree has apples that are tart and green, one makes apples that are small and gold, and the others drop big, round, sweet, juicy apples that are bright red with gold near the stems… and it turns out that these have been the best ones that I’ve been able to work with in the kitchen.
My guess is that the majority of our apples are Cortland apples. I am basing this on when they ripened, what apple trees grow best in our harsh winters, what the apples taste like, and how they didn’t go brown right away after being cut… but don’t quote me on that.
What I do know is that they are good, both when eaten right off the tree as well as when used in recipes.
Spiced apple chutney is really special. I’ve given it away as gifts, and when people open the jar, the first thing they say is that it smells like a cozy, warm harvest spice candle.
Yeah, that is what this will make your house smell like when you make it, so why wait?
This chutney can be served warm (plate it next to your Thanksgiving turkey as an alternative to cranberry sauce) but it can be enjoyed just as much cold. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks… plenty of time for you to come up with all kinds of ideas on how you would like to use it in your cuisine.
Did I mention that it goes great on cinnamon raisin toast? How about as a dip for sliced apples, or on top of yogurt…
Haha, I can’t stop thinking of all the wonderful ways to use this apple and onion chutney! But, enough about me. I’d love to hear how you used this chutney, so please drop me a line in the comments below if you’ve made it.
Spiced Apple Chutney
- Dutch Oven
- 12 large apples, such as Cortland, Empire or McIntosh peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1 small yellow onion peeled and chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp beef base
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 4 cups water
- Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven and stir to combine. Heat over high until boiling, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Once the chutney has reduced to where there is only a small amount of liquid remaining, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the chutney from the heat. Serve warm over toast, on ice cream, over pork chops, or as a condiment on your favorite cheese board. To store, allow chutney to cool, then transfer to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid for up to two weeks.
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