The next time you need a sophisticated appetizer, wow your guests with this Fig Port Chutney.
Before I teamed up with the CompostMaster, the only figs I ate were of the Newton variety. I simply didn’t know any better. Then I tasted a fresh fig from his neighbor’s tree and I was hooked. The fresh cream we drizzled on top was just a bonus. The luscious, aromatic fig was the star.
When we left that neighborhood (and that fig tree), we headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where fig trees grow rampant. We’d plant a tree and a hurricane or nor’easter would wipe it out. Then we’d plant another tree and it would grow immediately. I guess figs thrive in sandy soil. We discovered fig preserves and the region’s specialty, Ocracoke Fig Cake. (One day I hope to come up with a diabetic-friendly version of this cake.)
While browsing through Hillary Davis’ cookbook, Le French Oven, I spied a recipe for fig port chutney. Given my husband’s love of figs and knowing his favorite snack is yogurt topped with chutney or preserves, I knew I would have to try Hillary’s recipe. For him, of course.
The fig port chutney did not disappoint. It’s amazingly easy to make – all you have to do is chop some figs and measure a few other ingredients into a French oven, such as the one from Le Creuset pictured below. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Once the figs are soft, purée half in a food processor and then add it back into the French oven. That’s it.
This fig port chutney works well as a snack (mixed with yogurt is scrumptious, I hear) or as a sauce for pork or turkey tenderloin. It would also be a perfect holiday appetizer spread on crackers, then topped with some crumbly cheddar cheese. The yogurt-fig chutney combination is also killer on whole-grain pancakes or waffles.
Fig Port Chutney with Crumbly Aged Cheddar
- 24 to 28 ounces dried Mission figs, coarsely chopped 670 to 780 g
- 1 cup dried cherries 120 g
- 2 cups port wine, plus 3 tablespoons (45 ml), divided 480 mL
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 90 g
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 8 ounces crumbly aged cheddar cheese
- Crackers or country bread
- To the French oven, add the chopped figs, cherries, 2 cups (480 mL) port, brown sugar, mustard, cloves, salt, and rosemary. Cover; bring to a boil over medium heat, uncover, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 6 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the figs are soft.
- Turn off the heat and let the mixture rest for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it cools. Transfer half of it to a food processor and purée until very smooth. Scoop it back into the French oven and stir to combine. Stir in remaining port and mix well.
- Serve on crackers with the cheddar over the top or spoon into clean jars with screw-top lids and keep in the refrigerator or share with neighbors and friends.
IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS
- Instead of port, add rum and raisins. Instead of dried cherries, add in chopped oil-cured black olives.
Check out some of the other delicious dishes:
- Red Clam Soup with Saltine Crumb Garnish from 30AEATS
- Chilled Beet Soup from Cookistry
- Lemon Braised Chicken with Green Olives from Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
- Warm Apple and Cranberry Almond Crumble from Miss in the Kitchen
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Le French Oven from Gibbs Smith plus a copy to give away. I received free bakeware from Le Creuset plus a share of a French Oven to give away. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of them and make a purchase, I will receive a tiny fee. Please see my disclosures page for more information.