Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Pepper and Chilli Jam

Last year I grew a Scotch Bonnet chilli plant. It was hot, of course. This year I thought I should grow one that was a little less hot. I chose a plant called Paper Lantern because it looked pretty on the label. I hadn't quite grasped the fact that it's also very hot. In fact, hotter than the Scotch Bonnet. So I had a lot of hot chillies to use up.
Paper Lantern Chillies
To turn the heat down a notch or two, I combined the chillies with plain old peppers (sweet or bell peppers that is) and made this Pepper and Chilli Jam, which will spread nicely on such things as burgers and sausages but will also stir easily into casseroles and stir fries without causing you to reach for too much iced water.

Not that there's anything wrong with a hot sauce in my view. I used up the rest of the chillies by making some of my usual Tomato and Chilli Jam, some hot Chilli Ketchup (a similar sort of recipe but a thinner result) and some Caribbean Pepper Sauce. I used the recipe you can find here for the latter. It's a nice variation on the classic pepper sauce with a good hit of lime and plenty of heat.
Chilli Sauces and Jams
There's not much in the way of pectin in a pepper, so this won't set like a classic fruit jam without a little help. If you want a reasonably firm set then use jam sugar but if you'd prefer a softer set then add just a little pectin (see the recipe below). If you don't add any pectin then the result will probably be more like a ketchup, but that's no bad thing if that's what you fancy.  This will make around 3 small jars.

6 red, yellow or orange peppers (sweet or bell peppers)
2 decent sized shallots
3 hot chillies (more if they’re a milder variety)
1 tsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
170 ml water
210 ml white wine vinegar
360 g jam sugar (or 360 g granulated sugar plus 1 or 2 tsp pectin for a soft set)

Core and deseed the peppers. Slice the flesh into quarters and grill them until the skins have blackened and the flesh has softened. Either seal them in a plastic bag or place in a bowl and cover them. Either way, leave them until they're cool enough to handle and then peel off and discard the blackened skin.

Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Deseed the chillies and chop the flesh roughly. Wizz the flesh of the peppers, the chillies, shallots, soy sauce and fish sauce in a blender or small processor until you get a fine purée. Put the purée in a non-reactive pan with the water and vinegar. Add the sugar and pectin if you're using it and place the pan on a medium heat. Stir regularly until the sugar has dissolved and then bring the pan to the boil. Boil the mixture with plenty of stirring until you get the degree of set you want. This is likely to take very roughly 8 - 10 minutes but it's best to do a classic wrinkle test to check the consistency. Chill a few saucers in the freezer, take one out and put a small dollop of the jam on it, wait a moment or two and push the jam with your finger. If it clearly wrinkles when you push it, then it will have a classic jam set consistency. If it offers some resistance without wrinkling, then it's at a soft set consistency. If it offers little or no resistance, then it's more of a sauce and you might want to boil it a little longer and repeat the test.

Allow the jam to cool a little and pour into sterilised jars. I keep the quantities quite low and so the jam doesn't stay around for long, but I've no reason to believe that it won't keep well. I tend to store it in the fridge partly to ensure that there's no danger of it spoiling but partly because I simply prefer to serve it cold.

3 comments:

  1. I've got a lot of very small apples stored, as I didn't thin out the fruit on my trees well enough - this has reminded me that I intended to make some chilli jelly with them. I've seen your blog recipe so must have a go at it.

    I like the new look to the blog!

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  3. Sorry, left a word out and comment didn't make sense! I had a lot of chillies on my plant this summer, so this seems an ideal recipe to use some of them.
    Great photos - so lifelike.

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