There’s nothing like a tree-ripened peach, one so succulent that its perfumed juices dribble down your chin and slurping noises are the norm. I have had my share of this year’s Texas peach crop and have specially enjoyed the local Hill Country beauties from Fredericksburg and Stonewall.
With visions of peach season quickly coming to an end, I decided to prolong their presence by transforming a few into mouthwatering chutney [truthfully, another mouthwatering chutney]. Perhaps this was prompted by a recent Saveur splash celebrating its 150th issue, which included a recipe for Major Grey’s Chutney, considered one of the world’s 150 most classic recipes.
Over the years plenty of purveyors have offered their versions of Major Grey’s chutney. With its roots likely embedded in 19th century British India, it is anyone’s guess whose recipe is most authentic.
Saveur’s recipe called for simmering mangoes, plenty of ginger, onion, garlic, raisins and warm spices for two hours. At one time I suspect tamarind paste would have also been included.
My own alterations started with cutting the recipe in half for a first run and the swap out of peaches for mangoes. I reduced the amount of sugar and glad that I did, because it was still quite sweet. I recall Major Grey’s as thick, sweet and exotic. I further increased the lemon juice and threw in half of a juiced lemon during the cooking process. Since I was making a smaller quantity, my chutney was well-simmered and thickly textured within 1-1/2 hours.
The results were very nice, indeed: a dark, complex, well-rounded sauce with just enough heat to catch your attention. Yes, I’d say that the peaches make a worthy contribution.
A riff on Major Grey’s Chutney; inspired by Saveur’s Major Grey’s Chutney
- 4 medium Texas peaches, peeled, chopped
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- ½ cup fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice plus rind from ½ lemon
- 1 tsp dark chile powder
- ½ tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg, salt
- ¼ tsp each ground cloves, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
In 2-quart pan, place all ingredients,b ring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally until thick. Transfer to clean jar and store in refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Makes 2 to 3 cups.