Baies Roses & Ajwain Red Pepper Relish
Makes about 2 cups.
Pepper relish or pepper jam is something of a throwback, but in our kitchens it’s never gone out of style! It’s fantastic to have on hand for whipping up a quick appetizer for an impromptu cocktail hour and it’s delicious served with meats and poultry. Pepper relish is also a wonderful addition to a cheese board, much like its cousin chutney!
1 cup roughly chopped white onion (about half a large onion)
2½ cups roughly chopped red bell pepper (from 2 large peppers)
1¼ cups (scant) sugar
1¼ teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons baies roses, lightly crushed
¾ teaspoon ajwain, lightly crushed
½ teaspoon Sicilian chile flakes, lightly crushed
½ cup cider or champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh apple
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Put the chopped onion into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse a few times until the onion is diced; don’t over process — you want some texture and not onion mush! Transfer the onions to a heavy, non-reactive saucepan.
Reassemble the food processor (no need to wash or wipe it out). Add the chopped peppers to the food processor’s bowl and pulse until the peppers are diced. Add the peppers to the onions in the saucepan.
Add the sugar, salt, and spices to the pan and stir to combine. Set the pan aside for 20–30 minutes; the sugar will dissolve and the vegetables will release quite a bit of juice.
Stir the vinegar and apple into the vegetables and set the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the lemon juice and a couple of grinds of black pepper. (At the end of the cooking time, the vegetables will look slightly translucent and relish will still seem quite liquid; the relish will thicken as it cools.)
Pour the relish into a clean pint jar, put the lid on and tighten it. Set the jar aside until the relish has cooled to room temperature. It is ready to use immediately but the flavors benefit from an overnight night rest. Store in the fridge, keeps for months.
Note: If you’d more chile heat, increase the amount of chile flakes or add a minced (fresh) hot chile.