As you already know, I like to pickle peppers. I’ve been doing it for years now, and devote a large chunk of my pepper patch to jalapeno and serrano peppers just to keep my public happy.
This year, I added some new varieties, but the old staples include poblano and banana peppers which I use mainly for stuffing. A new addition this year is a haber-nada, which is (cleverly) a habenero pepper that they somehow bred the hotness out. I used to grow habeneros, and the plants are great producers. You wind up with hundreds of these pretty orange latern-shaped peppers, each of which is way too hot for anything you might cook. They have a distinctive taste that you can discern about one millisecond before you taste buds get burned off. So there’s not much you can use them for. However, Burpee, my supplier of choice for strange peppers, had these in their catalogue, so I bought one just to try it. They are great! You get the taste without the atomic blast.
One of my happy customers is my dear friend Lisa. She always gets a jar or two of my pepper rings when I put them up. Last year she told me that she likes to chop them up in a food processor to make a kind of relish that she spreads on sandwiches. I thought this was a pretty spiffy idea, so this is my attempt to make Lisa’s hot pepper relish.
I decided to make the relish colorful, so I included four different peppers; green chilis, red serranos, yellow bananas, and the aforementioned haber-nadas.
I chopped them into rings like I always do, and tried to keep the proportions even. About a cup of each for this first batch.
Next I made up some of my standard sweet pickle brine.
3 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
3/4 cup of white sugar (for low-carb, substitute low carb sweetener for sugar)
1/4 cup of salt
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
Mix in all ingredients and bring to a boil.
Next, I packed the peppers into pint jars and poured in the boiling brine. Normally, this would be the end of the process, but I want to make relish, so I put the pickled peppers in the fridge for a couple of days.
Now for the Relish
Finally, I drained off the pickle brine and put the rings into a food processor. One pint of rings makes about a half pint of relish. You can pretty much make it as course or fine as you like. You could also put some Spanish olives in to give it some salt and cut the heat a bit.
The only thing left to do was to spread some on a sandwich. This stuff was pretty potent as I like hot stuff, and I didn’t make an effort to cut the heat of the peppers by removing the membranes and the seeds. The pickling cuts the heat a little bit, but this might be a little too hot for most. The other thing you can do is to substitute some sweet peppers for the hot ones to get the heat you want. For me, this was just perfect.
So at the end of the day, Lisa was right. The hot pepper relish is quite good as a condiment. Now I just have to make a lot more of it.