Monday, October 18, 2010
CanJam #10 Chili Peppers
The CanJam ingredient this month is chili peppers and I had a bumper crop of them this year; jalapeno/ habanero/ cayenne overload! Colette grew some very hot Portuguese peppers this year so we had those as well. The hardest part was picking a recipe - I have list on my fridge currently of things I still need to preserve and most of them involve hot peppers in some form. Kim chi is on the list but it's a fermentation process, not hot water bath. I made chili garlic paste earlier this month but such a small batch I didn't bother canning it, just stuck it in the fridge. It came down to salsa verde or hot pepper jelly, favourites for both Colette and I- so we decided to do both!
Salsa verde is a perennial favourite around here. We've been making this for so long I don't even remember how many years ago we started making it. It's always very popular; one year we had a exchange student from Mexico staying with us and he ate my year's supply in a matter of weeks while the canned version his mother shipped him from home collected dust on the shelf. We usually try to grow the tomatillos ourselves with moderate success- some years I actually get enough before the possums steal them all. This was not one of those years sadly -I harvested barely a pint! But at least most of the peppers are home grown!
1 lb tomatillos, husked and blanched for 5 minutes in boiling water.
1-3 jalapenos seeded and chopped
1/2 cup red or yellow peppers diced fine ( we used poblanos but any mild pepper will work)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp lime juice ( preferably fresh)
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic ( optional)
chopped cilantro ( optional)
Blanch tomatillos as directed and coursely chop.
In food processor or with a hand blender, puree tomatillos, jalapenos (and garlic if using ).
In a large sauce pan add puree, red onions, vinegar, peppers and salt. Cook at a slow boil, about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Turn off heat, add lime juice and cilantro and stir well. Pour in 250 ml jars and add sterilized lids. Can for ten minutes in hot water bath.
Salsa verde can be used in any dish that calls for tomato salsa but I like it best with chicken enchilladas.
Anther annual favourite is hot pepper jelly. Usually we do a jalapeno jelly but with all the lovely peppers to choose from (and the poblanos I found at the market), we decided to do a multi pepper version - a seriously hot jelly this time!
Red Hot Chili Jelly
1 1/2 cups of mixed hot and sweet peppers ( we used red bell, poblanos, Portuguese hot, red and green jalapenos- ratio of hot to sweet can be adjusted to taste)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 pk pectin crystals.
Dice peppers very finely ( use gloves for hot peppers!)
Saute peppers and vinegar until softened, then slowly bring to a boil.
Add pectin according to manufacturer's directions and bring to a rolling boil.
Add sugar and boil hard for 1 minute.
Turn off heat and continue to stir for 5 minutes, skimming foam.
Pour in jars and add sterilized lids
Can for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Makes ten 125 ml jars.
This is a lot thicker than our usual jelly. The colour is absolutely gorgeous, the peppers are beautifully suspended and this is one seriously hot jelly! We ended up with a slight problem with the pectin tho - it gelled but it's a bit grainy although it doesn't affect the taste. Popular wisdom suggests that it will dissipate in the jar but I made the mistake of trying to 'fix' it and failed miserably ( for more on that see here )
At least Colette will get to enjoy her share.