Monday, July 3, 2017

Harissa - #ChileWeek

Jazz up your next meal with this fresh, oil-free harissa, made with a load of hot peppers, homegrown tomatoes and Ontario garlic. 

Harissa made with a load of habanero and jalapeno peppers, homegrown tomatoes and Ontario garlic.

This week I'm posting all the hot and spicy chile pepper recipes I made and canned over the last year. Follow #ChileWeek for updates - enjoy!

Last year, we saw more than our fair share of hot peppers. I don't know why my stepdad grows ones like the Carolina Reaper or the Trinidad Scorpion, since he can barely handle Tabasco sauce. I, on the other hand, like my heat when it's tempered by cooking or aging. Fermented or pickled habanero hot sauce is fantastic, and when I lived in Ottawa I bought my fair share from a local chilehead store. I've never fermented anything in my life before, and I wasn't going to start right before school began last year, so I turned to The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet to Fiery and Everything in Between for inspiration.

Since I had a variety of peppers at my disposal - from sweet cubanelles to tongue-blistering Reapers - I soon settled on Harissa to use up a chunk of my haul. Harissa (at least in the book's recipe) can be made with essentially any mix of chilies you have on hand, since they serve more to add heat than true flavour to dishes Harissa is a part of. The rest of the seasoning - coriander, fenugreek, garlic and even tomato paste - enhance and elaborate on that heat, creating an exotic marinade or sauce ingredient once the elements have a chance to marry. Pressure canning the sauce / paste mixture accelerated the "get to know you" period for the spices, plus it left space in my fridge and freezer for stuff like cookie dough!

What about you? Are you a flame-loving heat seeker? Or are Doritos as spicy as you get?

Harissa
Makes 1 cup, 16 (1-tbsp) servings
8 oz fresh chiles (your favourites - I used habanero and jalapeno)
½ tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp water
  1. Combine the chiles, spices, garlic, salt, lemon juice, tomato paste and water in the bowl of a food processor. 
  2. Process to form a smooth and thick paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. 
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, freeze or transfer to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until almost boiling, then transfer to canning jars and pressure can (not waterbath) for 15 minutes at 10 PSI.
  4. The flavor of the harissa will deepen over the next day or two, so wait at least 24 hours before using.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 6.2
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 78.7 mg
Total Carbs: 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.3 g