Cherry Chutney Chicken & Haden Fig Cancilla Vineyard Pinot Noir

This recipe is from a dinner we made earlier this summer.  The chutney is so good, you should give it a try. It should work in almost any season.  I know I’ll use it again!  The chutney would work well on chicken or pork; you might even try it with salmon.  The main flavor is cherry, but there are lots of other nice savory elements as well.

Cherry chutney ingredients

Preparation is really easy, you just start chopping up the chutney ingredients.

Pit and chop the cherries

Peel and chop the apples

Slice and chop the red onion

Peel, slice and chop the fresh ginger

You combine all the chutney ingredients in a pot, and start by bringing to a boil.  Then you reduce to a medium simmer, just less than boiling.  The real key is to keep an eye on your chutney while you are prepping the other dinner ingredients.  You don’t want to hurry, as you could end up with something burnt on the bottom of the pan.

Take your time and don’t hurry the reduction.

You can stop the reduction when you get to the consistency you like.  This one is not too runny, but it’s up to you!

Voila! Chutney, so flavorful.

The remainder of the dinner ingredients is really your choice.  Grilling the veggies in a grill basket keeps the kitchen cool in the summer and the roasted flavor is really nice.

Green beans and shiitake mushrooms ready for the grill basket.

In Minnesota, fresh sweet corn accompanies any meal on the day it’s purchased.  Because the chutney has so much flavor, the rest of the meal can be pretty simple and still shine.  The chutney served on a lighter meat provides a perfect match for a nice Pinot Noir.

Haden Fig is a small Oregon winery, not distributed in Minnesota.  I found them while doing some winery research for a trip we were taking to Oregon earlier this year.  We met Erin Nuccio, the owner, at the winery and he gave us a great tour.  I’ll be writing up our visit in a post sometime soon.  I bought my first bottles at the winery, but I’ll be ordering more directly from the winery.  It’s easy enough to do!

Haden Fig wines are sourced from growers who use sustainable methods, as they don’t own their own vineyards.  Their approach is to intervene as little as possible in the winemaking process to let the fruit and the place in which it was grown be the center of attention.  The winemaking is very careful and attentive, you just don’t have to worry that they have adjusted the wines with a lot of chemicals or artificial processes.

This particular wine is a single vineyard Pinot from the Cancilla Vineyard.  As you can see below, it is beautifully transparent.  Here are my notes on this wine:

  • Nose: intriguing.  a bit of earth, definite cherries.  sometimes rose petals, cinnamon, even some anise.
  • Flavor: lively & light.  Very good acidity but stops shy of being tart.  Tannins are very restrained.

One nice thing about an elegant Pinot Noir such as this one is that you can serve it very slightly chilled in the summer.  Not refrigerator cold, but just a bit of a chill.  If you put the bottle in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour, then pull it out to serve, it should be just right.

This is an artisan produced, single vineyard Pinot Noir from Oregon, and can be purchased for $30 from the winery.  The shipping charges average around $4 per bottle, which is balanced by the fact that you probably won’t have to pay your local sales tax.  You will need to look pretty hard to find a nice single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in this price range!

Haden FIg is a small Oregon winery, available in many states via mail.

If you are looking for an Oregon Pinot Noir from your local wine shop that may have some similar attributes, you might try one of the following:

  • Less than $20: A to Z, Erath, Montinore
  • $20 – 30: Anne Amie

If you find this lighter style appealing, one thing to look for is an alcohol level of 14% or less.  Pinot Noir’s above 14% usually offer a bit more ripe fruit and rich flavors, but a bit less elegance and lively acidity.

For dessert, we made a nice fresh fruit trifle, just right for a summer evening.

Trifle with fresh fruit makes a wonderful dessert.

Chutney Recipe

Don’t neglect Co-op newsletter recipes!  This one is from the newsletter from Linden Hills Co-op.

  • 1/2 lb cherries, cleaned and pitted
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/2 cup apple
  • 1/2 cup red wine (nice to use the wine you’ll serve with dinner)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation is as I outlined above, don’t be in a huge hurry to reduce the liquid.  Bring to an initial boil, then reduce to simmer.  It may take an hour to reduce.  Stir often to check it isn’t burning.  Enjoy!

Summer meals with family and friends are great!

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