Friday, September 9, 2011

Plum pickle

On a road trip to Houston recently, Madame and I stopped  in Fairfield to eat at the mighty fine Sam's restaurant. The breakfast buffet is huge - makes fgreat road food. As we were leaving we noticed a roadside stand selling peaches, plums, potatoes - some things grown by the farmer, some imported (California strawberries). You have to know what's in season. Strawberry season in Texas is March/April - not the end of August!

Anyhow, we bought some fantastic peaches, some OK tomatoes, and some ammunition - oh wait they were plums, but as hard as bullets. You may wonder why. Well, I hoped they might ripen up a bit. They did, so now they were rubber bullets and not the deadly kind. The only thing to do was to make some kind of a chutney. I did - and it was surprisingly good. Especially with pork chops. It is tart enough so that it cuts through the pork fat well.

1 whole star anise
6 whole green cardomoms
12 coriander seeds
12 black pepper corns
2 whole cloves
1/2 Kaffir lime leaf
2lb small, unripe plums - whole with stones, washed but not dried
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 T agave nectar (more or less depending on taste)
pinch of salt

Make a spice bag out of a piece of cheesecloth (muslin) and the first 6 ingredients. You don't have to do this but it meakes fishing the spices out afterwards a breeze. Put the spice bag and the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a simmer, and cook stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes - until the plums have lost most of their texture.

Remove the spice bag. Leave to cool. Transfer to a screw topped jar, removing the plum pits as you transfer it. Store tightly sealed in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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