Relishes and chutneys seem to be all but forgotten in the modern kitchen. With the abundance of fruit and vegetables available all year round, there really isn’t the same need to preserve the harvest as it was in previous generations. This year because because of writing the blog, I have been more aware of what is in season and how cheap it is when it is, that I have began to wonder how I can take advantage of some of the bargains. Given the amount of Hatch Chiles there have been recently in the shops, I thought that a spicy chile pepper relish would be a great way to help extend the taste of the Hatch Peppers beyond the current season.
Since being in the US, I haven’t come across many relishes other than the occasional corn or green tomato relish, and though their popularity is diminishing in the UK, it is still very easy to get a hold of things such as Ploughman’s Relish, Piccalilli as well as many other things that are described as relishes, pickles or chutneys, with names being used interchangeably. Relishes, pickles and chutneys tend to be used as condiments along with a meal, rather than an ingredient in cooking, though there are many exceptions such as Coronation Chicken which uses mango chutney. Relishes tend to have big, bold flavours and go particularly well with meats, cheeses, sandwiches, barbecue food, etc.
Making your own relishes is pretty easy. Basically all you need is some vegetables, or maybe fruit, onions, sugar, salt and vinegar. If you know there are some vegetables in the refrigerator that need to be used up, but you don’t have a use for them or if something is on special offer in the supermarket, then these would be perfect candidates for making relishes. You can use the basic recipe and technique below for making different types of relishes, by substituting the Hatch Chiles and tomatoes with other vegetables and possibly adding spices.
Hot Hatch Chile Pepper Relish Recipe
This recipe makes approx 1 jar. To make more, just increase the quantities accordingly.
- 10 hot roasted Hatch Chiles, peeled, stems and seeds removed, and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- Pickling Vinegar
- 1/3 cup (80g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- Add the vegetables to a pan and just cover with vinegar.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer until the liquid has nearly evaporated. Be careful not to allow the mixture to burn.
- Add the sugar and heat until the pickle has thickened and has just become syrupy.
- Decant the pickle into sterilized jars and seal. It should keep for at least 6 months.
- Leave for a day or so for the flavour to mellow and enjoy with cheeses, meats, salads, sandwiches, etc. The flavour of the pickle should be hot, spicy, sweet, salty and acidic all at the same time.