I made fig jam and fig preserves with lemon, ginger and cinnamon to give the flavor a little lift, and after eating, cooking or canning dozens of jars of the mellow fruit, I decided I wanted to step it up a little and enhance the flavor profile.
Ginger and cinnamon are very aromatic, so it would be difficult to build on those spices without getting too sweet or heady, so I decided to make a chutney that would warm the spices and add a little sharpness without losing the delicate flavor of the figs.
I searched for a recipe that I could work from, and settled on one by Emeril Lagasse. I changed a few things and created a chutney that turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.
Emeril’s recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/fresh-fig-chutney-recipe.html
Lici’s Fig Chutney
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup fresh ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 lemon, quartered with peel on, seeds out
2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 allspice berries, crushed with mortar & pestle
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds firm figs, stems removed
Put all the ingredients except the figs into a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat. Let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce is reduced by half (Emeril says 2/3, but half worked fine for me). It should be a little syrupy. Remove lemon pieces and cinnamon sticks. Add figs and let simmer another 30 minutes, stirring gently on occasion, being careful not to damage the figs. That way when you serve it, the figs open up to release their flavor and really shine above all the stronger ingredients.
I canned my chutney so I can serve it on multiple occasions.