About the Rambler



Welcome to my ramblings on dinner & drink, people & places, our planet’s health & the future of food. I’m a journalist, author and media trainer. My kitchen forever smells of garlic and curry. And much like my mother, I start thinking of dinner long before breakfast….

Happy Holidays, With Chile Jam

RS Holiday Bird

Above, a view from Christmas past: Wisconsin 2012. From all reports, something similar is happening there this year. Meanwhile, we’re at home in New Mexico now, beneath bright blue skies with a bit of snow on the mountains and luminarias to light the streets at night. Wherever in the world you are, may the season bring you peace and love. May the year ahead bring wonder.

I spent a bit of time in the kitchen yesterday, before our family outing to the Nutcracker (colorful, playful performance, this one!). I’d had this idea that cranberries and citrus would pair well with New Mexico chiles for a sweet-spicy jam. And then I made something a little more Asian style. Enjoy: two chiles for a lively new year:

New Mexico Chile-Cranberry-Orange Jam:

Ingredients:
1 bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups dried red New Mexico chiles
3 juicing oranges
1 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt

Method:
Douse the chiles in boiling water and let sit until softened; drain liquid and reserve.

Juice the oranges, discarding seeds but keeping the pulp.

Meanwhile, boil the cranberries in 1 1/2 cups water (or as needed to cover the berries) for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through sieve into a separate dish. Smash the cranberries through the sieve. Skins can be added to the juice if you prefer a chunkier, more rustic jam; otherwise, discard. Add sugar to cranberry juice and stir well while still warm. Add salt. Add orange juice and pulp, as well as the softened chiles. Blend well in a food processor or using a hand-held immersion blender. Add chile water as needed to achieve the consistency you desire.

Use with cornbread or pancakes, drizzled over vanilla ice cream, rubbed on grilled pork or…. ?

 

Southeast-Southwest Chile Paste:
This recipe blends flavors of the Southwest US and Southeast Asia

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dried red New Mexico chiles
3 cloves garlic
3 lemongrass stalks, minced
1 large hunk ginger
salt
1 1/2 cups peanuts

Method:
Douse the chiles in boiling water and let sit until softened; drain liquid and reserve.

Peel and mince the lemongrass finely; if the pieces are too large, they will not mix well with the other ingredients.

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, or using a mortar and pestle or hand-held immersion blender. Add chile liquid as necessary to create a smooth paste. Add salt to bring out the flavors; you want the paste to have a salty flavor.

Use in grilling or baking chicken or pork. Rub on tofu for frying. Eat as a chip dip (perhaps adding a bit more chile liquid). Eat with rice. Stir-fry with vegetables. Or… ?

Chili Jam B

3 comments to Happy Holidays, With Chile Jam

  • Had a good reader question on the cranberries – how big is the bag? 12 ounces. But, confession: those of you who know me will know that I’m not terribly precise on measurements with recipes like these. I cook to my taste :)

  • Hi. I just stumbled onto your blog but see you have not posted since Christmas. Your blog looks really interesting and you have some great recipes here, so do you plan on writing again or have you “resigned”?

  • Thanks for visiting, Samantha – glad you found the blog. You’re right, I’ve been quiet lately. But not gone. Please see today’s post, with an explanation.

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