I am mildly addicted to jams, jellies, and preserves. Well, maybe it's a little more than a mild addiction. More often than not, I will return home from a vacation with jars of jam in my luggage, heavy to carry but totally worth it. If I visit a new grocery store, I can spend ages in the jam aisle reading all the labels and carefully picking a new jam to try.
When I was preparing for my PhD defense, I went through jars of jam. During the last week before the big day, I honestly polished off a large jar of Bonne Maman rhubarb jam in the space of 3 days. I ate it on toast. I ate it spooned directly onto pieces of aged cheddar cheese. I ate it straight from the jar. I guess you could say that jams and jellies are comfort foods for me in times of crisis.
When I was younger, I used to take the left-over Thanksgiving cranberry jelly to school in a tupperware. I would eat it for dessert at lunchtime. While most kids had jell-o cups, I ate leftover cranberry jelly, happily. Jell-o freaked me out (and still kind of does), but cranberry jelly was a real treat for me. I think it's the intense flavor of cranberry jelly that gets me every time. It's sweet and tart, and so amazingly cranberry. I just love the stuff.
Pepper jelly is another favorite of mine. It's sweet and spicy, and sometimes it can even be a little vinegary. I especially love toast with a thick layer of cream cheese or a mild goat cheese, and then topped with an embarrassing amount of pepper jelly. Sometimes I add lettuce or sprouts (if I have them on hand), in an attempt to be healthy. Greens on a pepper jelly toast happen rarely at best. I just want the jelly, really.
All this to say that when I saw the recipe for cranberry-pepper jelly in the November issue of Bon Appétit, I had to make it. Combining two of my favorite jellies into one seemed like a genius idea to me, and boy was it ever. It's quite spicy, loaded with cranberries, and with just a hint of sweetness. It would make a great accompaniment to a Thanksgiving turkey, or even just a simple Sunday roast chicken. Delicious! And yes, I also ate it by the spoonful, and dolloped over slices of Weston Première Fournée bread with some Chèvre des Neiges spread thick.
As you can see, I stuck to the original Bon Appétit recipe pretty closely, and only slightly changed the method.
Makes 2 1/2 –3 cups
- 3 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 long red chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed hot pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp grey salt
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup liquid pectin, I used Certo brand
- 3 cups frozen cranberries, thawed (you can use fresh of course!)
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the chopped peppers, granulated sugar, pepper flakes, and salt. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the peppers begin to release some of their juices.
- On medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved before proceeding.
- When the sugar is dissolved, add the lemon juice and liquid pectin, and stir. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes
- Add the cranberries, and simmer gently for another 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened slightly.
- Transfer jelly to sterilized jars, and let cool completely before refrigerating. Alternatively, you can seal the jars according to your jar manufacturer's instructions.