Saturday, November 26, 2011

Texas Style Food: Chile Piquin Jelly

Years ago, my friend Steven told me about this tiny little wild pepper that his mother, Margaret, would use to make homemade salsa. I have been growing these little hot as hellfire little peppers for the past three seasons in containers on my patio.  On a whim, because I have never made jelly before this, I just decided to try to make them into jelly.  This is the odyssey - photos and all.

Start by sterilizing the jars - no nasty bacteria for this jelly!

I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them stay on simmer to keep the jars warm. Jars should be hot when you fill them with the recently cooked jelly to avoid cracking.

These are the Chile Piquins I picked from my backyard. Don't let their tiny size fool you. These babies are HOT!

They are so small, it's impossible to open and get the seeds out which the recipe called for, so I left them whole. 

I finely chopped (1) red bell pepper and added the Chile Piquins (1/2c) in a small food processor and ground them to a paste. That got added to the sugar (5c) and apple cider(3c) vinegar. EDIT: I also used one pouch of store bought liquid pectin so that it would set up properly.  I omitted that from my first post!

It all gets barely boiled together to produce the most amazing, aromatic, deliciously sweet-hot flavor you have ever had!

I strained the jelly as it went into the jars, so no seeds made it in - with the exception of the last jar where I put all the seeds and pulp and processed it.  It should prove to be the hottest 6oz. of pure hellfire ever and was presented to my friend Steven because he was the inspiration for my jelly making afternoon.

Once its done, and after its been processed in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, when you take the jars out and they sit on the counter... they have a little "PING!" as they seal.  And you know, you just KNOW, later that freshness is going to be ready for you to enjoy.

On a piece of rare red meat... used as a glaze on a roasted chicken... on a piece of roasted pork... paired with creme fraiche on pita chips... DELICIOUS. Have a very cold, very dry vodka martini, settle back... and enjoy it.