When I met Hari Nayak of the Dosateria (remember that lovely wafer-crepe place at Whole Foods) last week, he gave me one of his books – Easy Indian Cooking. The book was filled with recipes from the Indian sub-continent but there were dishes inspired by his time spent on the East and West coasts. As I leafed through the book, I came across Cranberry and Meyer Lemon Chutney. Yummy. After all, a holiday is not a holiday without the scent of a pine tree, branches of holly and some kind of chutney using seasonal ingredients.
Whilst turkey is often served to mark the occasion back home in the U.K., for me it’s the glazed ham that gives me a reason to be excited. Now imagine thin slices of roasted-glazed ham with a chutney of cranberry and Meyer lemons. Pretty on a plate with some lemony zing can only lead to good things, after-all when sweet meets sour on a plate, it’s the ultimate truce.
Hari was very emphatic about using Meyer lemons as they are a lot more fragrant and less aggressive in terms of bitterness. The lemon and cranberry combination makes them work well with fatty friends, such as a cheese and charcuterie board, cutting through the ‘waxy’ texture.
After making tomato chutney a few months ago, I realized how easy chutneys can be and they even last a few weeks without spoiling. You also get a decent amount of yield on just a few ingredients and very little ‘active’ time. Hari got me very excited about making this. He even suggested that I make some extra to present to guests as little take home gifts. It certainly made sense to me, after all, this is a time for giving.
Recipe for Cranberry and Meyer Lemon Chutney
Makes 3 cups (800g)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 lb (500 g) cranberries, fresh
Grated zest from 5 meyer or regular lemons
Juice of 2 meyer or regular lemons
2 cups (400 g) sugar
6 cups (1.5 liters) water
Pinch of saffron threads
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
2. Add the cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, water, saffron, and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the vinegar, and cook until the mixture is thickened into a jam like consistency, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, and serve at room temperature, or refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve chilled. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes