Lowcountry cooking is full of ideas that seem foreign to outsiders. This sweet and spicy chutney is the perfect foil for salty country ham. Ground together, the two form a paste for memorable appetizers.
Cook the pears in water to cover until they are medium-soft. Drain, saving the water, then make a syrup of the water in which the pears were cooked and the brown sugar by boiling in a large nonreactive pot until thick, about 20 to 30 minutes. While the syrup is boiling, add the remaining ingredients to the pears, then mix everything together and cook for about 30 minutes or until the raisins are softened, the onions are transparent, and the chutney has a good thick consistency. Transfer to sterilized jars and seal; process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
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