Friday, October 29, 2010

Cajun Cowboy Candy Pickles

Is that a mouthful to say or what?  But they taste good and are a sort of by-product of another session of canning.

A few months ago I posted about a tasty hot and dill pickle recipe a friend had shared called Cajun Pickles.   Then, last weekend in anticipation of our first frost, DH pulled up all the pepper plants in the garden.  So I've been busy putting up serrano, jalapeno, thai dragon and Fooled You peppers.  Some went into a ristra, some were spread on trays for drying, some were canned for later use in salsa or crockpot Italian beef, some went into more hot sauce and some went to another friend because I'd run out of ideas.

But I still had about 8 pounds of jalapeno peppers.  And peppers are like anything else we produce, I hate to waste any.

Earlier this summer I had filed away a hot pepper relish-type recipe (attributed to Galen Gann) from the Canning2 list as it sounded like something we would like -- Cowboy Candy.  Hot jalapeno peppers, sliced, and onions, diced, simmered together till just tender in a vinegar brine which is then drained off.  Sugar and spices are added and the result was billed as a "tasty and spicy addition to almost any meal."

 So I used the recipe (posted below) to make 9 pints of Cowboy Candy.  One of the reasons I like the Canning2 list is most posters hate to waste anything, too.  So the original recipe recommended saving the vinegar-water brine to make hot pepper jelly.  But nothing was suggested for the heavy syrup that remained after canning the peppers.

Luckily DH had been asking when we were going to have another batch of Cajun Pickles which made me consider that while they start with a jar of dill pickles, the additional sugar and vinegar called for seemed a possible solution for what to do with the leftover sweet syrup from Cowboy Candy.  So I made a batch of cajun pickles using some of the leftover syrup and an additional two cups of sugar which I estimated would approximate the original sweetness called for in the cajun pickle recipe.  Instead of adding hot sauce, I relied on the heat left in the syrup after simmering the jalapenos plus the jalapeno seeds and almost 1/2 cup of jalapeno and onion bits left after bottling the cowboy candy.  And since the cowboy candy recipe included garlic, mustard seeds and other spices I didn't worry about not using tarragon vinegar or the other seasoning called for in the cajun pickle recipe.

Yes, this makes something slightly different from the original cajun pickle recipe.  Is it very new and different?  No.  It's just a little tweaking, no different than I do on a sometimes daily basis to modify recipes in order to use what's on hand.  Do we like this version?  Yes!  The sweet hot dill flavor is still predominant.  Can't tell too much difference from the original version -- tho the addition of mustard seeds gives it a slightly more "sweet pickle" flavor, if that makes sense.  We like them so much I'm saving the rest of the pickling syrup left from the cowboy candy to make another batch of cajun pickles when these are done.  I love a happy ending.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)
Recipe by: Galen Gann

This makes a very tasty and spicy addition to almost any meal.

First process
4 lb. fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 lb. onions diced
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
Second process
6 to 8 cups sugar
2 Tbs. mustard seed
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. celery seed
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. ginger

Slice Jalapenos into thin slices and dice onions.  Place in pan with water and vinegar, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat & simmer about 10 min or until tender. [Note: You could start with canned pickled sliced jalapenos and skip this step.]

Pour off most of the water-vinegar mixture (reserve for making hot pepper jelly, if desired), add the sugar and spices bring to soft candy temperature to completely dissolve sugar (about another 10 min.).  Place boiling mixture into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. (Reserve extra sugar syrup for making Cajun Pickles, if desired.)  Put on 2-piece lids.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

If you've never canned before check out the latest Ball Blue Book of Preserving or the USDA-funded website, National Center for Home Food Preserving, for detailed directions.


A Brush with Color said...

You amaze me--I'll bet you guys are eating VERY well! Awesome, Carolyn!

joey said...

when making the pepper relish do you put the seeds of peppers in or not? I have this same recipe but wasn't sure. I like things to have a bite but not hot.

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

I do leave the seeds in jalapeno peppers when making Cowboy Candy OR Cajun Pickles.

It does make the final product hotter than if I omitted the seeds.

When I make salsa, I generally use serrano peppers and then I always remove the seeds. I do that because I think the serranos taste "hotter" plus all the sugar in the Cowboy Candy and Cajun Pickles recipes seems to tone down the heat of the jalapenos just a notch. I don't find that applicable to salsa where there's no added sugar.

If you like the bite but no burn, then you might consider taking out most or all of the jalapeno seeds.