First of all, please excuse my weird mix of measurement units. I grew up using the awkward and arbitrary imperial system, and now in Europe I’ve been learning the much more rational metric system. I brought my measuring cups and spoons from the US, but also have a kitchen scale and a metric fluid measure. So my recipes come out a little funky sometimes. Really, everyone should use a kitchen scale, regardless of which units they adhere to, because this will give you the most accurate and consistent results for your ingredients.
Anyway, as I wrote about in French Food Festival, last year we scored an awesome jar of fig-onion chutney. Artisanal, chunky, and sweet, it was the first time I’d had any, and I knew I’d love to be able to reproduce it. I tried once, and failed miserably, coming up with an over-vinegared, cloying concoction that smelled like potpourri. The recipes I found on the internet just weren’t cutting it. The only thing I had to work with from the original was a basic list of ingredients printed in French on the side of the jar. No specific ingredient types were given (e.g. “white wine” instead of “Chardonnay” or “Riesling”) and the amounts for each ingredient were a guarded secret as well. Still, I gave it a shot. It turned out quite delicious, in my (and my husband’s) opinion, extremely close to the original version we both love so well. This recipe can be canned just like you would a jam or jelly. Remember to adjust canning boiling times according to your altitude (refer to Sealing in Summer for canning tips and tricks). As with all of my recipes, feel free to tweak the amounts of the spices to your taste preference.
At the end of the recipe for the chutney, I’ve written a brief recipe for an incredible and unique pizza you can make using it. It’s also great just on toast, cooked over a brie en croute, or used as a filling for tarts. Enjoy!
Yield: 4 8-oz. jars
1 kg figs, rinsed, stemmed, and cut into chunks
500 grams sweet onion, diced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
⅓ cup light brown sugar
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cardamom
Dash of ginger
1 ½ cups sweet white wine (Gewurztraminer or Reisling)
½ cup sweet vinegar
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 Tbsp. pectin
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced onion, 1 tablespoon of water, salt and pepper. Stir to coat, cover, and let sweat for 4 minutes on medium high heat. Uncover, lower the heat to medium, and continue to caramelize until the onions are soft and most liquid has evaporated. The onions shouldn’t be brown, still pretty white, just soft and translucent.
Add the sugar and spices, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers for about 15 minutes. Add the figs and both vinegars, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and pectin, and cook for 3 more minutes. Jar according to directions. Alternately, you can allow it to cool and store it in an airtight container, but it will only last about a month at best that way.
1 pizza crust (store-bought roll of dough is fine, about 9×13)
1 1/2 cup béchamel sauce
1 jar of fig-onion chutney
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to about 450F (according to pizza dough instructions). Roll out the pizza dough onto a baking sheet or stone. Spread the béchamel sauce evenly over the dough, then spread the chutney evenly on top of that. Crumble the goat cheese over the top, then scatter the parsley. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the goat cheese is soft and slightly browned and the dough is cooked through. Enjoy!