Hungarian Peppers preserved in oil

I don't know if I love this recipe more for the peppers or for the oil they are preserved in.  I love these peppers on hearty home-made bread with a sharp cheddar cheese.  The oil is great drizzled over bread, sandwiches, grits, polenta, and pasta.  This was an extremely useful addition to our pantry and is on our must-have list.

This recipe is adapted from one for Asparagus preserved in oil from Pam Corbin's River Cottage Handbook No 2 Preserves.
Probably my most used preserving book; I've gotten some really great ideas there. 

Use a good, but not really expensive olive oil.

Makes 2 jars (1 x 500 ml,  1 x 250 ml)

500g Hungarian Peppers tops, seeds and membranes removed
300ml cider or white wine vinegar
2 fat garlic cloves or shallots, finely sliced (I leave mine whole)
1 tsp peppercorns
A few rosemary,  thyme or basil sprigs
100ml lemon juice
400 - 500ml olive oil

Put the vinegar and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.  Meanwhile,  place a griddle pan over a high heat.  Add the peppers and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly charred.  Drop the peppers into the hot vinegar bath and leave for 3-4 minutes.  This sharpens the flavor of the peppers while the acidity assists in preventing bacterial growth.

Put about 2/3 of the garlic or shallot and peppercorns in the sterilized 500ml jar.  Remove the peppers from the vinegar bath and pack them upright into the jar.  Add a few herbs.  Pour over 2/3 of the lemon juice, then cover completely with oil.  Seal with a lid.  Repeat the entire process with the smaller jar,  using up the remaining peppercorns, garlic, herbs, lemon juice and oil.

Keep in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before using.  Consume within 4 months. Once opened,  keep in the fridge, making sure the peppers in the jar remain covered with oil, and use within 6 weeks.




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