Rany's Tomato-Meyer Lemon Chutney

Back in August, I was tapped to be a pickle judge at the Eat Real Fest in Oakland, CA. The festival was a bacchanalia of all things foodie: Squadrons of street carts, tremendous walls of spigots spewing microbrews, live demos of everything from butter to butchery.  The judging came as part of a series of contests for urban homesteaders. Homemade goods were judged in several categories: Home brewing, kombucha, jam making and pickles.

Among the highlights of the things we tasted were some peppery nasturtium capers and a pickled fig that made our eyes roll. But the one that haunted me most was a bright, complex tomato-lemon chutney. The flavors were simple and clean, yet somehow more than the sum of their parts. It came in second to the nasturtium capers, but it was a close race for sure.

I was able to reach the contributor, Bay Area resident Rany Prambs, who shared the recipe with me. It's easy and straightforward, and a real testament to the fact that using good, fresh ingredients and treating them with respect will always net you stellar results.

Like all good chutneys, this has a beautiful balance of tart, sweet and hot, so it plays well with a wide variety of foods. It can stand alone as a cracker topper, or sidle up to your holiday main meat; if you're making a Christmas goose, so much the better.

I've been all about the chutneys this season; I think they make interesting and appealing holiday gifts. This one, however, might not make it out of my house. I can barely keep from eating it by the spoonful.

Rany's Tomato-Meyer Lemon Chutney
Rany's original recipe used fresh, ripe roma tomatoes. If you can still get some, then by all means use them. Otherwise, you can use canned crushed tomatoes, but be sure to use the finest quality. Make sure they contain nothing other than tomatoes. Or, crack open a jar of the ones you canned earlier this year. You did can some, right? Right?
2 Tbsp safflower oil
2 oz garlic, finely minced
1-1/4 lb fresh, ripe roma tomatoes, or 2 c. crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
3 fresh cayenne peppers, minced, or 1/2 tsp chili pepper flake
1 bay leaf
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. sugar

1 small meyer lemon, chopped finely, skin on but seeds and pith removed

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic until fragrant; do not brown. Add the salt, peppers, bay leaf and tomatoes and give a good stir. Turn up the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the skins start to separate from the tomatoes. Add the lemon juice and the sugar, and reduce the heat. Keep the mixture at a low, murmuring simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes. When the liquid is reduced and thickened, add the lemons and remove from heat. Remove bay leaf. If canning, ladle into hot jars and process by normal water bath methods.

Yields 3 half-pint jars
More from Sean and Punk Domestics:

Sean Timberlake is a professional writer, amateur foodie, avid traveler and all-around bon vivant. He is the founder of Punk Domestics, a content and community site for DIY food enthusiasts, and has penned the blog Hedonia since 2006. He lives in San Francisco with his husband, DPaul Brown, and their hyperactive terrier, Reese.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Make-Ahead Curried Apple Chutney for Christmas (and Leftovers)

Prepare this make-ahead curried apple chutney for Thanksgiving or Christmas with a recipe and tips from Cooking Channel.

Lemon-Lime Mousse

This mousse will remind you of a super light key lime pie filling. It is tangy and just a touch sweet.

9 Foods with Religious Symbolism

It's easy to go your whole life and never realize that many of the foods you eat were actually originally inspired by religion and religious iconography.

Tips for Great BBQ at Home

Create great BBQ at home with these five tips from Pitmaster Robbie Richter of Fatty 'Cue restaurant in New York City.

Holiday Desserts: Coconut-Frosted Carrot Cake

Get Cooking Channel's best recipe for Coconut-Frosted Carrot Cake. This version is moist, sweet and has a complex combination of spices and zest.

How to Make Fondue

Learn how to make fondue, without a fondue pot, with this easy recipe.

Sweet Summer Drink: Mote con Huesillos Recipe

Mote con huesillos is a refreshing summer dessert beverage that’s sold all over Chile: from street carts, prepackaged or bottled in stores, or mixed up at home.

Super Food Nerds: Homemade Marshmallows

Cooking Channel shows how incredibly easy it is to make marshmallows from scratch that are creamier and more flavorful than the store-bought variety.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Rightside Up

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is popular, but why not serve the cake rightside up? Get Cooking Channel's recipe for Pineapple Rightside-Up Cake baked in mason jars.

On TV

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here