I love using quintessential seasonal ingredients. Right now the abundance of pomegranate simply beckons me, loudly. I try and come with all kinds of ways to use the deep red seeds called arils, mostly tossing them in salads I take to work. When it comes to pomegranate I am also overcome with laziness and rarely seed the fruit myself. My friend Ivy would say I am missing half the fun when I purchase small containers of just the arils. But I am not interested in staining my hands deep red and I just want immediate gratification with spoons full of the tart tangy seeds popping in my mouth. Sometimes I get pure pomegranate juice and mix it with my tonic water for a tasty drink. I love tonic water, tonic with cherry juice or tonic with pomegranate juice.
Tomorrow I am having good friends over for dinner. People I care dearly about, all with different dietary issues. It's been fun trying to come up with a menu that is seasonally festive as well as gluten and vegan friendly. As I envisioned the evening all I could see was bright glistening pomegranate seeds. My friend Ivy suggested pomegranate guacamole. What could be more seasonal that green guacamole dotted with little red jewels! I found a festive nonalcoholic pomegranate "mimosa" recipe that is so simple, mixing sparkling apple cider and pomegranate juice. Sounds good to me! Then I realized I was going to have a good amount of vegan cream cheese left over from a potato dish I am making . Extra cream cheese screams chutney to me. My mother used to smother bricks of Philadelphia cream cheese with red pepper jelly at Christmas time. I am very partial to chutney, cream cheese and crackers. I am actually partial to chutney in general and have made chutney with just about every imaginable ingredient. It is a stable with all the Indian food I enjoy. So why not try a pomegranate chutney. This recipe is going to knock your socks off. I can hardly wait for it to cool to test it with a cracker and some cream cheese. If you like pomegranate and cherry this chutney is for you!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
12 ounces fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen
1/2 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a deep pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic, cook about 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Stir in cinnamon and allspice, cook 15-20 seconds, until fragrant. Add cherries, pomegranate juice and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, medium-low and simmer, uncovered 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until chutney is thickened. Remove from heat, stir in pomegranate seeds and salt. Cool to room temp and refrigerate chutney, covered. Enjoy anyway you like!