Real Food for Real Life

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making escabeche...

Jalapeños en Escabeche

Making escabeche...I'm not refering to the pickled fish dish here, but Jalapeños en escabeche, or pickled jalapeños, escabeche in Spanish referring to a brine or pickling marinade.  I have long been a fan of pickled jalapeños, but never had eaten them pickled with other vegetables until a trip to Mexico in 2007.  I especially liked the crisp, spicy carrots (zanahorias) and started buying them at home (look in the Latin section of your grocery).  Our jalapeño plants are going crazy this summer so I thought I'd make my own.  This will need to sit at least a week to be their best, but the leftover bits that didn't quite fit into the jars were very tasty indeed.

Jalapeños en Escabeche
adapted from Simply Recipes
1 lb jalapeño slices
 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1/2 of a small head of cauliflower
1 head of garlic, cloves, peeled, halved if very large
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups cider vinegar
2 tbs. coarse salt
1 tbs. sugar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

Slice the jalapeños, carrots, and onion roughly the same thickness, and break the cauliflower into little florets.  In a fairly large nonreactive pot, saute the veggies and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes (they are smelling fantastic at this point). 

Ladle the hot veggies and brine into 4 sterilized pint canning jars, leaving 1/2' head space.  Stick the handle of a wooden spoon down into the jars to remove any air bubbles before lidding and processing in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Cool and store in a cool place for at least a week before eating (I hope we can wait that long :).

Note about processing...I gave away all my canning supplies a few years ago when it seemed like I just wasn't going to do it anymore (who knew), so I did not have the large pot with the lift out rack for hot water processing.  Since I was just using piny jars, and a small quantity at that, I was able to process these in my tall soup pot.  The pot was just large enough for the 4 jars to fit inside without touching, and tall enough for the water to cover them by one inch- I just rested the jars on a dish cloth inside the pan to keep them from knocking around.  To ensure I had adequate water in the pot, I filled it with the jars sitting in it, and held them down to keep them submerged.  To speed the process, I brought the water up to a boil while I was cooking the peppers so I was ready to go as soon as the peppers were.  It wasn't perfect, but perfectly adequate for canning a small amount without having to purchase (and store) the equipment.

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