Showing posts with label habanero. Show all posts
Showing posts with label habanero. Show all posts

Friday, August 8, 2014

Candied Habanero Bacon

Smoky bacon, topped with brown sugar and ground habanero then baked to a lovely crunchy sweet and salty crispiness, could well be a great snack for cocktail hour. I may never know. My advice: Don’t make it too early in the day because there won’t be any left before the sun sets. It’s irresistible. 

If you are a lover of bacon and hot chilies, there is only one downside to this recipe: It only makes eight slices. As I researched candied bacon on the internet, I came across various recipes and techniques but almost all of them called for about eight slices of bacon, either thin or thick cut, so weights varied. I snorted at them to myself and thought, where are you going with only eight slices?

Then I tried to fit more than eight on my wire rack and I realized why. “Oh, curse you, small wire rack!” I cried, making my helper tilt his head sideways with concern. I either needed to suck it up and leave the oven on for a double batch or settle for only eight. Summer temperatures being what they are in Dubai, I gave in. But I vow to do this again, and in greater quantities, once the scorching stops! It’s too good not to.

8 slices of streaky bacon
1/3 cup packed or 65g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground habanero or to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. and line your baking pan – with sides to catch the rendering fat! - with foil. This is just to make cleanup easier. Place your wire rack on top of the baking pan. Just for the record, my pan is 11x16 inches or 28x40cm.

Arrange bacon in single layer on top of rack.

Bake in the preheated oven for about seven minutes.

Meanwhile, mix your brown sugar and ground habanero together in a small bowl.

Isn't the ground habanero a most wonderful deep red?!

Sprinkle the bacon with half the brown sugar/habanero mixture.

Bake 5-7 minutes longer. Turn the bacon over and sprinkle it with the remaining brown sugar and pepper.

Bake 3-4 minutes longer or until the sugar is melted and bubbly.

Remove from oven. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Habanero Pepper Sauce

Almost pure habanero peppers, this sauce has just a little vinegar and salt. The flavor and heat of the peppers really comes through.

First, a word of warning: Only make this on a day when you can open your windows and get full ventilation going in your house. Habanero peppers are some of the hottest on the planet and you will suffer lung damage if you breathe in these fumes. I am not even joking a little bit.

In our house, we eat this on everything. Well, everything savory. It is indispensable and irreplaceable and when we run out and Hock Choon (or Fiesta in Houston, or my little GĂ©ant in Dubai) doesn’t have fresh peppers to make more, we are sad beyond belief. When we lived in Singapore those three semesters, I would trek back after visits to KL with a cooler full of these beautiful peppers.

Used to be that I could get the orange ones which I think are somewhat hotter.  
I am happy to get red, if that's all they have. 
The customs guys would make me open my cooler and I looked like a dealer, I had so many. (Fortunately, Singaporeans understand an addiction to chilies and they would wave me through.) We just can’t live without them. If they don’t have habaneros in Cairo, we’re in trouble. (With the current stockpile of sauce, we'll be okay for a few months. After that, I'll let you know. You may need to send peppers.)

800g fresh habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt

That’s it! We are talking almost pure-pepper sauce.

Remove the stems and wash your peppers in a clean sink, full of water.

They float!
If some of the stems don’t come off clean, use a knife to remove the green. Likewise, if any of the peppers have a bad spot, cut it off. We are not really cooking this sauce so any bacteria is a bad thing.

Open your windows and ensure good cross ventilation in your house. Avoid inhaling in the direct vicinity of the peppers for the next step.

Grind the peppers in a food processor. They may not all fit at first, so grind what you can fit on your fastest speed and then add the balance.

Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Remember not to breathe too deeply when you open it to scrape.

Meanwhile, wash and sterilize a few old jam jars with lids that close tightly without leaking. Which means, after washing well with dish soap, rinse them and then fill them with boiling water (putting a spoon in each to avoid breakage) and then drain. Avoid touching the inside of the lid or bottle now.

I always sterilize more than I think I'll need. It's hard to tell how much sauce you will get out of your peppers. 
Continue grinding the peppers for a few more minutes on high. Add in the salt and vinegar, scrape the processor vessel down again and put it back on high twirl for another few minutes.

You can see, I have scraped the sides down again. 

When your sauce is thick and pasty, put it in a pot on the stove and heat to boiling. If it is too thick, you can add a little water. You want to see it bubbling.

I added a little water.  About 1/4 cup.
We are not really cooking the sauce so this won’t take long. We just want to be hot enough to further sterilize the insides of your jars so the pepper sauce will last longer.

Meanwhile, set your jars out, with one teaspoon in each one. The spoon will keep the jar from breaking when you put the hot sauce in it. I am sure there is a good thermodynamic reason for this, but all I know is, it works. If you have a wide-mouth funnel, this will make transferring the boiling hot sauce to the jars much easier.

Once the sauce is boiling steadily, remove the pot from the heat and spoon or ladle it into the clean jars.

See that wide-mouthed funnel!  Great for this job.

Using a towel so you don’t burn your hands, tighten the lids as much as possible and turn the jars upside down. Once again, this helps the hot liquid sterilize the lid.

Every once in a while, when you pass the jars, try to tighten the lids a little more.

When the jars have cooled almost completely, turn the jars back upright. The round circle in the middle of the lid should be sucked in, just like when the original jam came from the manufacturer. If any of them don't seal tightly, store them in the refrigerator.

This will keep in a cool dark cupboard for months.  Once opened, keep the sauce in the refrigerator.

Even if you are a pepper eater, I suggest caution when adding this to food. It doesn’t take much!