Monday, 20 January 2014

Food For Thought: Hot Pepper Jelly

Happy Monday!!

Start of a new week, hope everyone enjoys! I decided to start of this week on a fire-y note, a spicy recipe that's been keeping us all warm this winter. I need to document this one because I have 1 jar left and I will need to make this again soon. I already have a little waiting list for my next batch. Something this good needs to be shared, so I hope you all enjoy and try this out for yourselves!

I got the inspiration from watching Chef Chuck Hugh's "Chuck's Day Off" and his take on Red Pepper Jelly (to try his recipe, click here), but I decided to tweak my take a bit and use a few different types of hot peppers instead of just 1 Scotch Bonnet. I made this with my family (and myself!) in mind, we don't shy away from spicy or hot foods. We actually prefer our foods spicy, and since I had some Jalapenos and Portuguese Hot Peppers that I had grown in my garden, I knew this would be a great way to use them and impress the family at the same time.

This is how I did it:

First things first, the peppers need to be diced. I started with the sweet bell peppers first, I had about 7 or 8 sweet bell peppers. I used all different colours - red, yellow and orange, no discrimination here. They are all sweet and yummy and going into the pot. I used one large communal bowl to put all the peppers in once they were diced.

Next we will chop up some Jalapenos. I had about 6 smaller ones from my garden (one had actually turned Orange, so it was spicier than the green ones. The redder in colour the pepper, the spicier it is. I had also bought about 4 or 5 larger Jalapenos from the supermarket. So crazy the difference in size, but that's another story. I chopped 'em all up and added them to the communal bowl, seeds and all!

And lastly time to chop up the Portuguese Hot Peppers. These are all from my garden! I used about 3 fairly longer peppers, I find they are a lot longer when you grow them than in the supermarket. Everyone into the communal bowl!

I grabbed a large pot and set the temperature to Medium-High on my stove top. I dumped all the peppers in and added about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and stirred that until it was almost all dissolved.

When making any kind of jams, jellies or preserves, I like to use some type of fresh citrus to cut the sweetness and compliment the flavour base. With this jelly I decided to use both lemon and lime juice and shavings. I felt that the lemon will brighten the sweetness of the bell peppers and the lime will compliment the heat of the Jalapenos and hot peppers. The zest and juice of 1 whole lemon and lime are added and stirred until the sugar is completely dissolved. I also added about 1/4 Cup of water as well.

Now is the time to wait. While stirring every so often, it will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to reduce, thicken and get the peppers nice a soft. Be patient! The longer it cooks down the spicier it will be!

Once its reduced down and there's a nice, thick syrup - its time to jar! I used the smaller sized jars as I thought the smaller size is perfect for a garnish preserve. I ladled the jelly in the jars slowly, while it was still hot. I made sure to fill the jars to the rim and placed the lids on after pouring. the heat will seal the jar, so no need to boil them after. This mix made about 8 1/2 of these littler sized jars.

And voila! Perfect little jars filled with potent, spicy-sweet perfection! Great to garnish and eat with any kind of meats, but really nice with red meats. Nice with whitefish and perfect to put on top of tacos or any kind of Mexican or Latin foods. I seriously eat this with everything and love it as a dunking sauce for almost anything!

I was able to give some away to family and considering the fact that they returned empty jars days after, I think it's a good sign, right?! Like mentioned above, I already have requests for me to make this again, so I will have to make double the batch next time I think! The last of it is in my fridge and I am using it sparingly. It was a great way for us to keep warm this past winter ;).

What do you think? Do you love or hate spicy foods? I would love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment below! Let me know if you plan on trying this recipe and how it turns out! Of course, feel free to use your own subsitutions, and please take caution as my recipe is VERY HOT! You can adjust how much spice by adding a little or a lot of hot peppers, or if you prefer to keep it sweet - don't use any hot peppers at all! Don't forget to let me know what you would like to see next on the blog and if there's a recipe you would like me to try in a future blog post!

For more recipe ideas and inpiration, please subscribe to my blog by inputting your email into the box at the top of this page. You can also follow my blog on Bloglovin' with all your favourites and for more foodie photos and posts follow me on Instagram (@fernonje). Make sure to tag me with #makeupmasochist so I can see how your jellies turned out!

Now I'm hungry.


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