An Eye on Christmas Dinner

UPDATED 2/3/11 Bonus: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe*

Hubby and I usually spend a quiet day at home for Christmas.  Last year we stayed in our pj’s well into the afternoon, watched on-demand movies, wished  our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and indulged in all our favorite Christmas treats…Christmas morning individual panettones with coffee then a beautiful Niman Ranch ham with all the trimmings and ending with sweet potato pecan pie.  For me Christmas treats involve lots of citrus, dried fruits, nuts and spices…most not GP-friendly I’m afraid.  So with an eye on this year’s Christmas dinner I developed a GP-friendly Christmas Chutney with a little inspiration from Epicurious.com.  I used white sugar in this version but plan on trying brown sugar next year.

Chutney is one of those items that people either love or hate and I find there is no in-between.  I love chutney’s thick, sweet and savory spiciness plus its versatility.  It is a nice accompaniment to turkey or chicken, makes a delicious chicken salad when mixed with a little low fat/no fat mayo or a tasty, albeit non-traditional, quesadilla when spread on flour tortillas layered with shredded cooked chicken and shredded low fat or no fat cheese then grilled in a sprayed no stick skillet.  Chutney can also be stirred into stuffing to give it a little zing.

This year’s Christmas will hopefully be as relaxing as last year’s but with a few menu changes.  We’ll be having chicken and I’m leaning toward either chicken breasts stuffed with chutney or chicken cutlets with a chutney infused pan sauce.  Both will adhere to the low fat/ low fiber GP diet suggestions we’re all quite familiar with.  As for dessert I’m looking forward to trying low fat individual chocolate gingerbread souffles.  As always I’ll be sure to post as soon as I’m able but until then and because it mellows nicely with age here’s my recipe for Christmas Chutney:

Christmas Chutney

Makes 2 1/2 cups or 20 servings of 2 Tablespoons each. Chutney mellows with age and this chutney is best after resting for a few days.

2 pounds ripe Bartlet pears, peeled, cored and diced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained

1 cup canned peaches, diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup sugar (will try brown sugar in the future)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane/rasp

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, pressed through a sieve to collect fibers

1 package Gerber First Foods baby food prunes

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Toss diced pears with lemon juice.  Set pears and peaches aside.  Pulse thyme and hot pepper flakes (if using) with a pinch of salt in a spice grinder.  In a heavy pan bring thyme mixture and remaining ingredients to a boil.  Add pears and peaches and cook, stirring often until fruit is soft and the mixture is thick approximately 40-50 minutes.  When cool pour into a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.  Chutney will keep 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or can be frozen.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on a 2 tablespoon serving based on 20 servings

59 Calories, 0.1 gram Fat, 1.9 grams Fiber,* 0.4 grams Protein

*Analysis based on unpeeled pears and peaches, since the peel contains fiber this figure may be inflated.

* Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thanks to some leftover Christmas Chutney and Roasted Butternut Squash from the freezer this was a quick, easy and satisfying soup.  Thin to a desired consistency for soup or leave thick for a smooth as silk squash puree…either way its delicious!

2 cups mashed Roasted Butternut Squash

1/2 cup Christmas Chutney

1 small head roasted garlic-cut top from head of garlic spray with olive oil spray and season with salt, pepper and thyme.   Roast in foil at 400 degrees until very tender.  Squeeze out contents of each clove.

chicken stock to thin

pinch curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Combine butternut squash, chutney, roasted garlic and enough chicken stock to thin to desired consistency.  Bring to a simmer.  Puree thoroughly with a stick blender.  Adjust consistency with chicken stock.  Season with curry, salt and pepper.


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