You’ll go yam for sweet potato chutney

Graphic: Karl Gustafson

If everybody loved cranberry sauce as much as they say they do, they’d eat it more than once a year. I daresay there are some who don’t like cranberry sauce at all! Now, I’m not suggesting we eliminate cranberry sauce from our Thanksgiving tables, oh no. I’m suggesting that we expand the condiment selection to offer a variety of flavors and textures. Just as you should never force someone to put ketchup on a hot dog, you should not force them to put cranberry sauce on a turkey.

While I wrote this recipe in the spirit of Thanksgiving, there’s no reason for this chutney to stick to turkey, or to grace your table only once a year. It can make the simplest dishes taste spectacular: rotisserie chicken, pan-fried pork chops, cream-cheese-dolloped crackers, deli turkey wraps, plain ol’ toast. It’s sweet and sour like a chutney should be, with a good amount of fall-appropriate warmth and smokiness from toasted garam masala and chopped, toasted pumpkin seeds. I added dried cherries because I love them, but you can swap those out for any dried fruit you’d like: golden raisins, chopped apricots or figs, or—why not?—cranberries. They’re still delicious, even if they’ve occasionally been forced to appear in some very unfortunate condiments.

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Photo: Allison Robicelli

Sweet Potato Chutney

  • 2 large onions, diced into 1/4" pieces
  • 6 cups cubed sweet potatoes—about 3 large potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted

Heat a few tablespoons of a neutral oil—like canola or grapeseed—in a large pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions with a hefty pinch of salt and fry for a few minutes until they begin to singe a bit, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until a deep shade of caramelized brown—about 20 minutes. If at any point the onions look like they’re drying out or burning, add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the bottom of the pan, using a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen up any stuck pieces.

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When the onions have caramelized, add the garam masala and ginger and cook on high heat for a minute or so until they become intensely fragrant. Add the sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar, stirring well to coat the potatoes in the onions and spices. Add the dried cherries and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Allow the sweet potatoes to simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chutney is rich and syrupy. Chop the pumpkin seeds finely and stir them into the chutney.

The chutney will keep in a jar, refrigerated, for at least five days. Serve at any temperature you desire, garnished with some toasted pumpkin seeds if you want to make it look fancy at the table. Makes somewhere between 4-5 cups of chutney, depending on how much “tasting for seasoning” you did while making it.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.