Saturday, August 25, 2007

Goat Cheese with Warm Apricot, Cherry and Green Chile Chutney

(photo from
Sometimes when I entertain I don't have a whole day to devote to preparing dinner. But then, when I entertain I always serve an appetizer, a salad, a vegetable, usually a carb of some kind, and a protein, maybe even with a sauce or salsa or something alongside. And dessert. That's a whole lot of food prep.

I'd like to say that as I've gotten older I've gotten wiser about the work and stress of entertaining, but my DH would heartily disagree. I still do a too-ambitious menu. I choose things that require too much work. Once in awhile I either buy an appetizer, or sometimes buy a ready-made dessert. Or, I cut out the carb. But most often I think I can do it all and still be full of energy at 6 pm. But more often than not I'm still working furiously 5 minutes before the guests arrive. My DH loves to entertain (and he does deal with the wine, the wine glasses, and he even sets the table AND does all the dishes). I can't complain at ALL that he doesn't help. He just doesn't help with any of the FOOD unless it's a grilled meal we're having. So when I start working up a menu I forget to think about the hours of work. I often underestimate how much time it will take. And I must not work at the frenetic level I used to. So I'm normally at work in the kitchen all day. One of these days I'll learn. Maybe.

On occasion I start working on my entertaining menu several days ahead and do some of the work a day or so before. This is one of those recipes to do ahead - it's not all that difficult, but you do have to make the chutney. It's easy enough - just takes about 45 minutes total time, with a bit of chopping and mincing before you start. Then when the guests arrive, you can just whip this out and heat it up.

Poblano chiles are a favorite of mine. They have some kind of deep, complex flavor. They have character. That's it. I don't think I've ever had them and not liked them. This recipe came from a cooking class with Tarla Fallgatter. And the chutney is just wonderful. On my notes from the class I wrote "fabulous." That means it's a "must fix this" dish. And I have. You'll have some leftover chutney, but it's also delicious served with a pork chop or chicken breast popped on the grill.

The picture at the top - of the cheese - isn't actually the right kind of cheese - you want the plain chevre or montrachet. A fresh and plain goat cheese log. Then you make the chutney, have it warm. Heat the log of cheese for 5 minutes, then plate it and mound the chutney over and around it. Some crackers, and you're done. I think you'll get raves.

Goat Cheese with Warm Apricot, Cherry & Green Chile Chutney
Recipe: Tarla Fallgatter
Servings: 8
8 ounces goat cheese -- log
2 1/2 cups dried apricots -- coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar -- or sugar substitute
1 cup poblano peppers -- roasted, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries -- chopped
1/2 cup red onion -- chopped
1 whole cinnamon stick -- 3 inches
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Italian parsley -- chopped
8 ounces crackers
Italian parsley sprigs for garnish
1. In a 3-4 quart pan over high heat, combine apricots, vinegar, sugar, chiles, cherries, onion, cinnamon stick, mustard seed and salt.
2. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are soft when pierced, about 20-25 minutes. Uncover and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 5 more minutes.
3. Let cool, discard cinnamon stick and stir in the chopped parsley. Preheat oven to 350. Place goat cheese in an ovenproof dish and heat about 5 minutes or until JUST warm. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon some of the chutney over the top. Garnish with the Italian parsley sprigs, surround with crackers and serve.
Per Serving: 549 Calories; 14g Fat (22.0% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 98g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 30mg Cholesterol; 609mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fruit; 2 Fat; 2 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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