Hot Peppers

There are many types of hot peppers with varying degrees of heat based on “Scoville Units.” Some of the hot peppers include:
Anaheim, Poblano, Padron, Numex Orange Peppers — MILD
Jalapenos, Capperino Cherry Peppers — MEDIUM
Cayenne Chili Peppers, Serrano Peppers — HOT
Habaneros — VERY HOT
Fatalli peppers, Ghost peppers — DANGEROUSLY HOT!

Recipe List:
Hot Pepper Sauce
Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe
Jalapeno Jam
Poblano, Corn, and Potato Gratin
Roasted Poblano Cream Soup


Hot Pepper Sauce

This is a variation of a classic Southern recipe.  Measurements are approximate, and you can add your own touch with garlic cloves, tomato paste, or rosemary sprigs!  Use a mason jar or in a spare bottle.

About 1 pound jalapeño, serrano or other hot peppers, washed, stems removed
10 whole black peppercorns
About 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Stuff as many peppers as you can in to the bottle or jar, dropping a few peppercorns between the peppers.
2. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a medium pot.  Stir in the salt and remove from the heat.  Let it cool for about a minute.  Pour the vinegar over the peppers until they are fully covered.
3. Pound a cork into the jar or bottle (an old clean wine cork works fine) or screw the lid on tightly.  Put the peppers in a cool closet for 1 week; then transfer to the refrigerator.  The sauce will be ready to use after 1 week, but it will get even better and hotter with time.  Once the sauce has reached a heat to your liking you can transfer it to a smaller clean container and store it in the refrigerator; at this point it will keep indefinitely.
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Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe

From Simply Recipes
Tart green apples have more pectin in them than sweet apples, so use tart green apples for this recipe, earlier in the season the better. This is especially true if you are not also using cranberries, as cranberries have their own natural pectin as well.

4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), unpeeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores
6 jalapeño chili peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, the seeds and ribs removed from 3 of them (for mildly hot jelly. If you want a hotter jelly leave the seeds and ribs in all of them.)
1 green bell pepper (or red if you want the color), seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 cup cranberries (optional but recommended, will help with color and with setting)
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cup for each cup of juice)

Equipment Needed:
One 6-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel)
A candy thermometer
A large fine mesh sieve (or several layers of cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth jelly bag)
4-5 half-pint canning jars

1. Combine the apple pieces, apple cores (needed for their pectin content), jalapenos, bell pepper, cranberries (if using), water and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the apples, cranberries, and peppers are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan where it might burn. Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of slightly runny apple sauce. If the mash is too thick, add more water.

2. Spoon the mash into a fine mesh sieve, muslin cloth, or a couple layers of cheesecloth, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours (even overnight). If you want a clear jelly, do not squeeze or force through the mesh. Just let it drip. If you want a fuller flavor jelly and don’t mind that the result won’t be clear, you can force some of the pulp through the mesh. If your pulp is too thick, and nothing is coming out, you can add an extra 1/2 cup or cup of water to it. You want to end up with about 4 cups of juice.

3. Measure the juice, then pour into a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat gently, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

4. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a spoon to skim off the surface scum. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 220-222°F (8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude). Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

Candy thermometers aren’t always the most reliable indicators of whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it’s ready.

5. Pour jelly into sterilized jars* to within 1/4″ from the top and seal.

Makes approx. 4 half-pint jars.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers.

*There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Note that jalapeño jelly can be pretty “hot” if you have included a lot of the seeds in your cooking. The fat molecules in the cream cheese absorb the hot capsaicin of the jalapeños, reducing the heat, but leaving the flavor of the chiles. This is also why sour cream tastes so good with spicy Mexican food.

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Jalapeno Jam

Submitted by apprentice Cheryl Kastanowski

4 or more jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 1/3 cups canned apple juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
6 drops green food coloring — as desired

Sterilize 4 pint or 8 half-pint jars by boiling 10 minutes. Heat lids and let stand in hot water until ready to use.

Place peppers, juice and vinegar into large saucepan. Measure sugar into separate bowl. Stir sugar into above mixture. Mix well. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Open Certo and quickly pour contents into pan. Pour in food coloring. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Skim off any foam. Fill jars immediately to 1/8-inch from top of jar. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover quickly with lids. Screw on bands tightly. Invert jars for 5 minutes, then turn upright. After 1 hour check seals, or process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Use this favorite Basque spread, pisto, on bread or toast or as a base for canapes made with smoked salmon, ham, anchovies, etc. From “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen (Workman, 2005)

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Poblano, Corn, and Potato Gratin

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut into 2×1/4-inch strips
1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup coarsely grated Oaxaca cheese or whole-milk mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub 9 1/2-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Arrange 1/3 of potato rounds, overlapping slightly, in prepared pie dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of poblano strips over, then 1/3 of corn and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat with 1/3 of potatoes, 1/3 of poblanos, 1/3 of corn, and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, poblanos, and corn, reserving remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place pie dish on rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk half and half, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Pour over potato mixture in pie dish; press potatoes to submerge. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Continue to bake gratin until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Roasted Poblano Cream Soup

1 1/2 pounds poblano chilies
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup (or more) whipping cream

Char chilies over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag. Let stand 10 minutes to steam. Peel, seed and chop poblano chilies.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add chilies and sauté 1 minute. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until chilies are very tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in cilantro, parsley and mint. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in 1/4 cup cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more cream if soup is very spicy. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and chill. Bring to simmer before serving.

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