My Freezer Is A Wall Of Jalapenos: How To Preserve Hot Peppers, Pt.2

Right before the frost this past year, I stashed a lot of hot peppers in my freezer. I already wrote this post about preserving peppers, which included the whole idea of just stashing them in the freezer for later in the winter instead of rushing to deal with all of them right away.  Since “later in the winter” is officially here, I’m trying to deal with this ridiculous wall of peppers when I open the freezer door, and I thought I’d share a couple of the recipes that I’m making.  chilis!Before you say it, I know, hot pepper jelly is always my absolute favorite idea for using chili peppers, but I already have enough hot pepper jelly to last through several apocalypses. And since people always ask for a good recipe for hot pepper jelly, here’s my tip: I’ve tried almost all of them, and in the end I decided my favorite is just the recipe in the sure-gel box.  The high sugar one. It turns out awesome.

So, if you’ve already made enough hot pepper jelly to satisfy the cravings of your friends, relatives, and hungry neighbors, here are a few more ideas:

Escabeche Vegetables, from Canning For A New Generation, by Liana Krisoff-

I’ve had pickles similar to these in lots of taquerias in San Francisco. They’re addictive, with the kind of spicy heat that makes you almost want to stop eating them, but they’re so good you just have to have one more, even though you’re starting to sweat.  They’re perfect with a beer and a burrito, and I’m so excited to have my own jars in the pantry now.

escabeche vegetables

Fermented Sriracha, from The Hungry Tigress

I haven’t actually tasted it yet since the peppers are still fermenting on the windowsill, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna end up doing a monster batch once I taste this first one (because sriracha is inherently delicious and there’s no way one small batch is gonna do the trick).

fermenting chilis

Candied Jalapenos, seen in many places around the internet, but I used this recipe from Foodie with Family:

I’ve never tried these before, but I’ve heard people go absolutely crazy about them, and I can’t wait to see how they taste.

candied jalapenos

Jalapeno Bread and Butter Pickles, from Simply Recipes:

I’m really excited for these, because I generally like bread and butter anything.  I can hear them screaming out to get put on top of a burger, fresh off the grill, or maybe diced and put in egg salad if you wanted to get really crazy.

jalapeno bread and butter pickles

I haven’t actually tried any of these yet since pickles need a few days to mellow out after you make them, but I’ll report back when I do.  Can you think of any recipes that I’m missing? If you have something you love to make, please leave a link in the comments. I still have ten huge bags of jalapenos in my freezer and I really need to get them outta there!

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Three Bean-Three Dollar Chili

I cooked a lot of tasty stuff this week (about 900 different marmalades!), but I thought I’d share this recipe since it was cheap, used a lot of preserved items from this summer, and used a whole lot of dry goods from the pantry.  The only thing I purchased specifically for this dinner was some ground beef and a bunch of fresh cilantro (a whopping three dollars).  It’s a delicious pot of chili, with three different kinds of beans, lots of garlic, dried chili peppers, pickled jalapenos, and a jar of crushed heirloom tomatoes.

garlic and chilis from our garden, canned tomatoes from our garden, onions that we traded eggs for with one of our neighbors down the road, and dried beans from the pantry

This recipe makes a ton of food, with plenty for leftovers, freezing, or a big crowd.  The ingredients are also very flexible; don’t feel like you have to find dried thai chilis specifically, if you have something else similar, that’s fine. Same goes for the dried beans – whatever you have in your pantry will be fine.

dried azuki beans

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 dried thai chili pepper  (minced with a knife or crushed with a mortar and pestle)
  • 3 dried cayenne chili peppers (prepare same as thai chili pepper)
  • 3 pickled jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1 lb. 96% lean ground beef (or ground turkey, or Gimme Lean, or nothing, depending on your meat preference)
  • 1 16-ounce jar crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c. dried azuki beans
  • 1/2 c. dried black beans
  • 1 c. dried kidney beans
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • approximately 10 c. water (or stock, if you have it around)
  • 1/2 c. shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (for garnish)
  • 1/2 c. loosely chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish; optional)
  • 1/4 c. sour cream (for garnish)

1. I soaked my kidney beans and cooked them in advance, which I would recommend. Put the kidney beans in a mixing bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight. In the morning, put the beans in a medium sized pot, add about 6 cups of water, and cook on low until they are tender, but not mushy. During cooking, add water as necessary to keep beans covered with plenty of liquid. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

2. In a large pot, bring the olive oil to medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, cumin, and dried chilies. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent and spices are aromatic. Add ground beef, pickled jalapenos, garlic powder, and paprika, and continue to cook until ground beef is nicely browned.

3. Pour in the jar of crushed tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, and about 6 c. of water. Stir everything together. Add in dried black beans and adzuki beans. Cook, uncovered, on low heat,  for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary.

4. Add the cooked kidney beans that were set aside earlier, stir everything together well. Add another few cups of water and cook on very low heat for another hour or two. Season with salt and pepper and sugar (we added sugar to balance out some of the heat, you can also use honey or leave this step out altogether).  During cooking, a lot of liquid will reduce off, and you should adjust how watery your chili is according to your own preference. Most of the water cooked off of ours and it was fairly thick.

5. Serve hot, with cornbread, and garnished with cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.