I’m always thinking of new uses for pepper jelly. The classic uses in New Orleans are with daube glace and hogshead cheese. But this is also wonderful with cold roast beef, chicken, turkey, and even shrimp. It’s an essential ingredient in a few of my recipes, notably the root beer glazed ham. You can buy your own, or wait for somebody to make some and give it to you. But lately a couple of people asked me for a recipe, so here it is.
Another thought: for some reason, pepper jelly turns up in many holiday recipes. Make it now to avoid the Christmas rush.
- 1 large red bell pepper, very ripe
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 3 hot Tabasco or “birdeye” peppers
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- 1 sprig fresh parsley, leaves only
- 1/2 tsp. fresh tarragon (omit if fresh is not available)
- 1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary or a pinch of dried
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 tsp. Lea & Perrins white Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 boxes pectin
1. Roast the bell and jalapeno peppers under a hot broiler, turning to blacken about 75 percent of the outer surface of the peppers. (This can also be done by holding the peppers above the open flame on your stove with a fork.) Don’t be shy about this; it will look like you’re burning and ruining them, but you’re bringing out the flavors of the peppers, and eliminating some of the bitterness.
2. After the peppers have cooled from the roasting, pull them apart by first removing the stem end. If you do this carefully, you will find that it will also remove most of the seeds from inside the pepper. Remove all residual seeds. Peel off pepper skins, which will have been considerably loosened by the roasting.
3. Cut the Tabasco peppers in half and scrape out all the seeds. Put the peppers, along with the basil leaves, tarragon, parsley, and rosemary, into a food processor and chop almost to a puree. Add enough water to make a total of two cups of pepper puree.
4. In a large saucepan, bring the corn syrup, lemon juice, apple juice, Worcestershire, and vinegar to a vigorous boil. Add the chopped peppers and reduce the mixture, stirring every now and then, for 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and dissolve the pectin into the mixture. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm, but which time it should begin setting.
6. Boil canning jars and fill with hot pepper jelly mixture. Process and cap according to standard canning procedure.
Makes four to five cups.