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Chow-Chow

Chow-chow, a condiment widely used throughout America (although not to the extent that Qit was, say, fifty years ago), was made by Zatarain’s and other companies until the hurricane. Zatarain’s appears to have left chow-chow out of their product line when they returned. Rex, the other local brand, is still out there, as is the very chunky Crosse & Blackwell version. For some reason, in recent months people have asked me about Zatarain’s chow-chow often. Here is a recipe that at least approximates the stuff. Use it on sandwiches or as a relish for vegetables.

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 1/2 green cabbage, core removed, roughly shredded
  • 2 small green tomatoes, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 16-oz. jar whole sweet pickles
  • 3 16-oz jars yellow mustard

1. Slice the florets off the cauliflower, breaking them into pieces the size of the tip of your little finger. Discard the branches and core.

2. Over medium heat, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt with one quart of water to a light boil in a large saucepan.

3. Add the cauliflower, onions, and cabbage. Cook four or five minutes. Add the green tomatoes and red bell pepper and cook two or three minutes. Turn the heat off and let the vegetables cool in the boiling liquid for about a half-hour.

4. While waiting, drain the pickles and chop them into small dice (about 1/4 inch) by hand. When the vegetables are cool, drain and chop them about the same size as the pickles.

5. Combine the pickles and vegetables in a large bowl. Add the mustard and stir to blend.

6. Sterilize canning jars of whatever size you prefer. Fill the sterilized jars with the chow-chow mixture. Cap and process according to standard canning procedure. It’s best to let the chow-chow rest for a week or more before using.

Makes about eight eight-ounce jars.

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