Christmas feasts and left-overs are pretty much synonymous, don’t you agree? Gluts are also a regular part of growing your own produce. I was given a big bag of juicy organic yellow and green capsicums (bell peppers for you non-Aussies) by a neighbour this morning. That’s the way it is here. When you have an abundance of something in your vegetable patch you share a little with the critters, keep some for yourself, and give the rest away. That also works well with Christmas leftovers. Leftovers are wonderful opportunity to feed friends, or to invent tasty meals for little effort.
I already had some red capsicums, so I’ve decided to whip up some capsicum jam to go with all of our Christmas leftovers. It’s terrific with roast vegies, ham, turkey and other meats and cheeses. Also makes for awesome sandwiches. Naturally, one jar shall go back to the friend who gave me the raw materials! This jam is easy to make. You’ll need capsicums (obviously!), a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, olive oil, sugar and balsamic vinegar (A good shake of Peri Peri or chilli flakes is optional, but advised). Here’s how you do it:
Firstly, peel your capsicum. If they are very fresh you can use a sharp potato/vegetable peeler and the skins will come off easily. If the capsicums are a little soft place them over an open flame, or cut into halves or quarters and place under a grill until the skin blackens. Cool, and then slip off the skins with your fingers. Make sure that the capsicums are seeded. I’m using about 12, but you could make a small batch with just two or three. Slice your capsicums into ribbons. Chop your garlic finely (I used four fat cloves), or put through a press. Put a heavy bottomed pan onto a low heat and add a good slurp of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until it softens and becomes fragrant without colouring. Dump the capsicum in and toss with the oil, adding a little more if necessary. Raise the heat a little and soften the capsicum (about 7 to 10 minutes). Add a tablespoon of sugar (if a small batch or increase proportionately if making a larger batch) to help caramelise the capsicum (another 5 to 10 minutes). Use a tablespoon of vinegar to deglaze the pan and give a sweet and sour tang to your jam. Keep your sugar and vinegar in the 50:50 ration and you’ll be fine.
There are three stages you can cook this to.
Tapas stage looks like this and is great for using on crusty bread (heaven with cheese). The capsicum will still taste fresh and bright and have a little crunch to it. Add your chilli or peri peri now, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cool without delay.
Pasta stage looks like this. You’ll need another 5 to ten minutes cooking time. Keep stirring every so often so it doesn’t catch. The flavours will now be mellow and sweet. Stir through cooked pasta, add a handful of rocket and some parmesan shavings and you’re good to go. Also good with leftover roast vegetables added into your pasta. Meat lovers may want to add ham, bacon, pancetta or similar.
Jam stage. The capsicum is now velvety goodness in a pan, with a rich, oily complexity. Adjust your seasonings to taste. Cool and bottle. This will keep about 3 weeks and goes well with meats and cheeses. I also like it with avocado on toast. 🙂
There is something magical about sharing – it fills you with a sense of abundance, and it lights up the world with kindness. Got some left-overs in your fridge? Maybe it’s time to create a feast for friends and neighbours, or a care-pack for that lonely person you know. ♥