Every year I get a little nostalgic around October. I miss the change of the season, cheap the way the air becomes clean and chilly, steroids the turning of the leaves and the faint smell of firewood. But soon enough, I start hearing about Nor’easters and the dreaded “Wintry Mix” and all my nostalgia goes away because it’s bright and sunny and 70 degrees out.
Even if we don’t get Fall in Miami, we do get Fall ingredients. There’s nothing I love more than winter squashes and apples and dried fruit. So this weekend, I got my Fall on by making Pumpkin Apple Chutney for my lamb chops. It was sweet and spicy, but had a nice bite of lime, red onion and jalapeÃ±o. I also added some sweetened tart cherries and fresh mint. A great way to incorporate Fall into my life, even while I ate on my balcony in shorts and flip flops.
1 tbsp. canola oil
4 lamb chops (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
For the chutney:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 red onion (about 1/2 cup), finely diced
2 apples (I used honeycrisp), peeled, cored and finely diced
1 jalapeÃ±o pepper, finely diced
1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used canned)
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sweetened tart cherries
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup mint leaves
Start by making the chutney. Place a pot or large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and saute for about 5 – 7 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the mint and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the mint.
Transfer to a jar or container, then let cool to room temperature before using. I actually like to refrigerate mine for at least an hour, but that’s really a preference.
When your chutney’s ready, prepare your chops. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the canola oil and sprinkle your chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
Place them in the skillet, leaving plenty of room around each chop. Sear them for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. They’re done when they have a nice char on the outside and the inside is about 150° on the inside.
Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes before eating. Serve the chops with some chutney and sprinkle the top with mint leaves (optional).
Makes about 3 cups of chutney, which is more than enough. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container. It will keep for a few weeks.
The lamb is enough for 2. Add 2 chops for each additional guest. You should have enough chutney for about 12 guests.