I'm still dealing with the over-supply of chillies so a couple of days ago I pulled out the bush, stripped the chillies off and started thinking about how to use them. I decided on a few jars of chilli jam and dried chilli flakes. It will give us the opportunity to enjoy this season's chillies for another few months and both are very easy to make.
Three jars of very tasty hot chilli jam with yesterday's bread.
I've blogged about my chilli jam before but I wanted to create a different recipe because I had red capsicums in the fridge and I wanted to use more of the chillies. The new recipe is below.
20 cayenne chillies
4 red capsicums/bell peppers
4 medium red onions
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups white sugar
1 cup white vinegar (good white vinegar, not your cleaning vinegar)
juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons fish sauce if you have it OR ½ teaspoon salt if you don't
Wash the chillies, remove the top stem and cut the chillies in half, lengthwise. The heat in the jam comes mainly from the type of chilli you use but it is the seeds and membranes that contain most of the heat. Remove all the seeds and membranes, then add back about one quarter - or more or less depending on how hot you want it.
When you've worked out your seeds and membranes ratio, roughly chop all the vegetables and add to a food processor. Chop the vegetables in the processor for about 5 seconds - you want it all in small pieces but not mushy. Add this to a saucepan.
Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring the mix to the boil. When it reaches a boil, taste it. This is the ideal time to add more vinegar or sugar. If it's too hot you may want to add another onion or capsicum. If it's not hot enough, you can still add more chopped chillies or a teaspoon of seeds. Take some time with this and be sure you like the taste before you continue.
Let the jam cook on a rolling boil for 45 minutes. A rolling boil is when the jam boils and even when you put a spoon in to stir it, it continues a steady boil.
While the jam boils, prepare your jars - take the lids off three or four clean jars and put them in the oven set at 120C. Leave in the oven for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the jars and lids for 10 minutes. This is important: The jars must be hot when you add the hot jam to them so when they're ready, leave them in the oven or water until you use them.
When the jam is cooked and the right consistency, pour it into the sterilised jars. Put the lids on straight away and secure. Leave out on the kitchen bench overnight and when they're completely cool, store them in the fridge or the cupboard. There is enough vinegar and sugar in this jam to preserve it, you don't have to water bath it as well. The lids should be completely sealed but if you can easy remove a lid, use that jar first and store it in the fridge.
The jam is absolutely delicious served on a cheese platter or with quiche, spinach pie, or various meats such as steak, sausages, chops and roast beef. You can also use it to make a great sauce for meat - add a tablespoon of jam to pan juices, add one cup of cream and stir. It's very good as a marinade or you can simply add it to spice up a cheese or cold meat sandwich. It's makes a wonderful gift, especially for men who seem to love anything with hot chilli. I hope you try it.