Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chili-Garlic Paste

Not a timely post (much more Christmas going on than chilis, but oh well) but I wanted to post this.

When our chili pepper garden took off last summer, I made a Chili-Garlic Paste as a way to store the chilis. It was a great success, and when S brought in the last batch of chilis last month (last post) I made another batch, hopefully to see us through the winter. I actually took some photos which I just found. (It's been a long month.) I mince assorted chiles from the garden with fresh garlic in a food processor, and freeze the mixture in "plops" for later. I use the paste frequently for Asian-inspired dishes, soup or even just chicken for a weekday dinner.

My trusty (antique?) Cuisinart is perfect for this.

Recipe? I cleaned, seeded and cut the chilis in fairly regular pieces and threw in an appropriate quantity of peeled garlic cloves.

Then I processed lightly until the mixture was minced finely, but not pureed. Sometimes I add a touch of olive oil to hold it together, but didn't this time.

I spooned the mixture onto a lined baking sheet in "plops" and froze them for a couple of hours. The plops then went into a freezer-weight zip bag and into the freezer.

I love to take one or two of these out of the bag and throw into some hot olive oil - saves time and is much fresher-tasting than bottled commercial chili paste - and they add a great flavor to chicken breasts or soup. Besides, it's fun.

By the way, our chilis were not hot this year....even the deadly habaneros were just sort of uncomfortably hot, and the jalapenos were downright mild. Only the cayennes were true to form. That made our salsa kind of boring, but the combination worked well for the Chili-Garlic Paste. YMMV.

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