Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Red Pepper Paste




You never know something tastes really good until you try it. Homemade pepper paste is absolutely delicious and worth the effort. I made it last year as part of my experiment and this year I'm making even more. We are addicted.
To make the Red Pepper Paste I recommend using Red Bell Peppers. Other variety like Aruba(delicious for eating and pickling) and other kinds  peppers  will work as well but they are not as meaty as Bell Peppers. I know what I'm talking about. You'll get more paste from Bell Peppers and they are easier to work with.Trust me.
Use fresh peppers, wash them well, remove seeds  and any blemishes or spots they may have on the skin.
If possible try to get peppers from local sources, when they are in season with abundance of flavor.

Peppers

Basic Plain Red Pepper Paste - makes about 1 1/2- 2 cups(recipe adapted from Recipe Goldmine)
10 red bell peppers,washed cored, seeded,
cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Wash Peppers, discard seeds, if there are any blemishes or spots on the skin remove those as well. Cut peppers in half. Layer peppers into a all stainless steel pot(or  large oven proof dish)
  • Season each layer with salt.
  • Preheat oven to 240F.(115C)
  • Place the pot with peppers in the oven, uncovered.
  • Slow roast for 4 - 5 hours.Stirring the peppers occasionally.
  • Drain the liquid accumulated at the bottom after 2 hours of roasting.
  • Longer you roast the peppers easier it will be to remove the skin. 
  • I usually test few peppers just after a 4 hour mark. If the skin is easy to peel off then I take the pot out of the oven, if not I'll leave it there longer. This also depends on the thickness of the pepper, thicker the pepper longer it has to roast in order for the skin to become slightly loose for easy peeling.
  • Once you are happy how pepper are roasted, take the pot out of the oven and let the peppers cool slightly for easier handling.
  • Using your hands or a a small knife pull  away the skin from the pepper "meaty" part. Skin should just peel of easily. 
  • Once you have removed all the skin, process all the pepper "meat" in the food processor until almost smooth. Mixture will be slightly chunky. This is your basic pepper paste, without seasonings.
  • Note: If you prefer you can also roast peppers on the grill, then remove the skin. Because of the amount of peppers I process at a time(30+ Bell Peppers) I prefer to use the technique described above.

Haniela's Red Pepper Paste - Makes about 3 to 4 cups  pepper paste (ideal for seasoning meat, used as spread for sandwiches or crackers, great for Hungarian Goulash, pasta. Excellent as seasoning for dips and marinades)

Basic Plain Pepper Paste, made from 10 large red bell peppers(recipe above)
1 to 2 large red onion
3  garlic cloves
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks
1tsp mustard
small bay leaf
1/4  cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar( I'm using vinegar with 5% acidity)
1 1/2 tbl olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper(optional)
kosher salt, pepper to season, to taste

  • Peel onion and carrot, sliced them into medium size slices. Wash celery stalks and slice them into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Season vegetable with salt and freshly ground pepper  and 1 tbl olive oil. Toss together. 
  • Spread all the vegetables into a heavy aluminum baking tray.
  • Place garlic onto  a piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper, wrap tight with into the foil. Place wrapped garlic onto the vegetable tray.
  • Preheat the oven or grill, to about 400F.
  • I prefer using grill to prepare vegetables but oven will work just fine as well.
  • Roast vegetables, until soft and caramelized.
  • Once vegetable as done, let them cool slightly, then  process onions, carrot, celery and garlic cloves(without the shell) in the food processor until you have a thick paste. It will be slightly chunky but that's okay.
  • Now, combine Basic Plain Red Pepper Paste you made before with the vegetable paste. Stir well. Add vinegar, 1tsp mustard, season with salt and pepper. Add cayenne pepper if using. You can make the paste as spicy as you wish.Add small bay leaf.
  •  Bring mixture to boil, then lower to simmer and cook on low heat for 30 minutes and up to an hour. Stirring frequently. Paste is thick. You may have to some kind of  splatter shield.
  • Taste, season if needed. Remove bay leaf.
  • Process in the food processor one more time to remove any large lumps.
  • At this point you can spoon finished paste into a jar. Let cool. Store in the fridge. Prepared paste like this should last in the fridge at least a month.
  • I make an extra step to prolong the life of my pepper paste. I sterilize small canning jars, I fill them with paste and then I process them in  boiling water batch for 30 minutes. I still store the paste in the fridge afterwards.
  • Although I'm adding vinegar(vinegar is acidic, it has natural preserving qualities) I'm not using pressure canner to can the paste. Even though I process all the  jars in water bath, I'd  still recommend the paste is stored in  the fridge afterwards.
  • You can also use pressure canner to can the paste. If so, it is okay to store pepper paste in the pantry afterwards.
  • Suggestions: paste can be used for variety of dishes, from spreads, dips,marinades, pasta sauces, soups, etc.


1 comment:

  1. What a great idea to add another layer of flavors to fast weekday meals! Thx for the "how to".

    ReplyDelete

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