Wait, did I tell you that I had the flu? I’m not sure if I had mentioned…
During the 12 Days of Flu, not to be confused with a more festive 12 days that comes around at the end of each year, I had little energy to do much else than, of course, watch cooking shows on TV. I would lay there, on my couch, expressionless, lifeless, really, watching hours of my favorite peppy TV personalities, thinking about the first real food I would make and eat as soon as I got out of the flu black hole.
I decided on this chili jam. I kid you not – the very first day I felt like I could take more than the 4 steps from my sofa to my bed, I (very slowly) walked to the supermarket to get all of the ingredients, and (very gingerly) stayed on my feet to make sure that all of the peppers were chopped and the proper amount of stirring took place.
But that’s not even what I want to tell you: this jam looked so incredibly tasty on television, and I wanted to have it so badly, that even after I failed in my first attempt in making it (shame), I went back to the store (even slower than the first time) to get more ingredients, and again stood on my feet to ensure that it would work this time around. Then I collapsed. But it was exactly how I imagined it would be: sweet with an unexpected kick, delicious on cheese (!) and so worth it.
Chili Jam (adapted from the Cooking Channel)
This is where I discuss my first attempt failure: the recipe says to stir the jam for a full 40 minutes to reach proper thickness. It looked pretty darn thick to me at 15 minutes, but as the follower of rules that I am, I kept going. I ended up with chili jam rock candy, not many people’s candy of choice by any means, and a jar that ended up in the trash can. So I amended that cooking time here. I also cut the sugar in half. Not that a kilo of sugar is a bad thing. But it’s also not the best thing, is it?
8 oz., 250 grams red hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped
1.5 lbs., 750 grams, red bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 – 2.5 cups sugar
In a pot, combine the chili peppers, red bell peppers, and apple cider vinegar. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have softened. In a colander, drain the pepper mixture and with the back of a wooden spoon, press on the peppers to extract any excess liquid. The more you press, the better, and the more stained your colander will get. Just letting you know.
Transfer the peppers to a blender or food processor and puree. Press the puree through a sieve to remove the pepper skin. Discard the skin. In a saucepot, over medium heat, add the pepper puree and add the sugar a little at a time and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook the mixture for about 12-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks almost jam-like, keeping in mind that the jam will thicken as it cools. Allow to cool and transfer into jars.