Red Pepper and Peach Chutney


I'm amazed at how one can take three or four common vegetables around the world and end up with thousands of different dishes.  Looking at the box of sweet and hot peppers this week, I was certain that they would end up as a red pepper salsa. Somehow I ended up diverting to the southeast a bit...all the way to the southeast of Asia, as a matter of fact.  I was searching through my collection of dried spices and found a packet of black kokum.  I found these little dried fruits at a spice market in Boston, but they may be available at a local Indian grocery upon request.  The sweet and sour smell of kokum, which happened to be right next to a few other aromatic Indian spices, was enough to convince me to boil up a tasty chutney. One thing led to another, and by dinner time I had Minty Potatoes and Squash, Tandoori Chicken, and Cucumber Raita to go with my chutney. If you want to pair it with other meats or vegetables, however, this red pepper chutney will easily add a delicious sweet and spicy kick to many other foods.

Ingredients: 4 sweet bell peppers 1-3 fresh red chili peppers, depending on how much heat you like 1 large peach 1 medium yellow onion 4-6 garlic cloves Juice from one lime 3 Tbs good apple cider vinegar 1 Tbs blackstrap molasses 2 Tbs local honey 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves, cardamom, coriander 1/4 tsp whole cumin seed 1 tsp paprika 1 cinnamon stick 1 dried black kokum (optional), or substitute 1 tsp tamarind paste

Method: Blanch the peach in boiling water, then dunk in a bowl of ice water and remove the skin and stone.  The texture of the chutney is softer if the skins of the peppers are removed. There are several ways to do this, but the first step is to remove the stem and seeds. Next, the skin needs to blister, either under a broiler, in a hot skillet, or on the grill.  I used the toaster oven on a broil setting and it worked well.  Before you peel the skins, let the peppers sweat in a covered bowl for at least 10 minutes, and they should slip right off.  There is a great tutorial with photos on theKitchn if you would like more detail on how to peel roasted peppers.  The red chili peppers are quite hot, so you may want to take care in removing their skins, or leave them on if you don't mind the texture.

Dice the peach, onion, roasted peppers, chili peppers (with seeds if you want more heat), and garlic.  Add to a medium saucepan with the remaining ingredients and simmer with a lid.  Stir occasionally, and cook for at least one hour, or until the chutney caramelizes to your preferred texture and sweetness.  Serve warm or cold.  Refrigerate extras, or seal in jars with a water-bath or pressure caner.