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Pepper Progress

September 12, 2014
Romesco

Romesco

For the last few years I’ve been making small batch romesco in the winter from freezer stores of frozen peppers, and home canned tomato sauce.  I decreed early on (to the pepper seedlings, don’t ask, don’t tell) that this year would be the year that I would make it fresh and stash some in the freezer.  This recipe here gives you an idea of what romesco is, and how quick you can make it before dinner if you choose.  I like it on eggs, or any kind of meat, and you can eat it anyway you like, bread, pasta, by the spoonful, whatever.

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It’s perfect project to nest in with other preservation projects already in progress.  I ‘m roasting lots of tomatoes right now for sauce, so to oven roast some peppers, and hazelnuts in between, not a problem.  I can mix batches in the food mill too, saving clean up time between foods since recipe calls for the peppers and tomatoes in the same form, roasted, seeded and peeled.

blems

Red Ruffled Pimiento OP

In the farmstead garden I am the produce manager.  I have to deal with the culls, or blems as I harvest.  Some fruits are too far gone and go in a bucket for the livestock.  We skipped pigs this year so that means the hens and cows get the bulk of what doesn’t head to the kitchen.  There is nothing wrong with these peppers that a paring knife won’t fix.  These Red Ruffled peppers are very productive, I plant enough so that we have enough to eat out of hand raw, stash some in the freezer for baking with cheese later, and that leaves the blems for roasting with the tomatoes or for projects like the romesco.  Waste not, want not.

Since this condiment is meant for the freezer not canning, I can make it to match our tastes instead of worrying about low acid ingredient ratios.  The recipes I have looked at call for a 2:1 ratio of tomatoes to peppers, but to me that tasted like just tomatoes with garlic and nuts.  The tomato flavor overpowers the peppers quite fast.  What suits our palates the best are equal parts tomatoes and peppers.

What you need:
Food processor or blender
Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers
Garlic
Nuts
Smoky Paprika
Salt
Olive Oil
Vinegar
I skipped the bread portion…preferring just to keep it simple.

Working the romesco project into the ongoing tomato preservation went as follows:

Roast nuts and set aside.  I used hazelnuts but any nut would probably do.

Roast peppers in 400°F oven until slightly blackened.  You can sweat them if you like, but running them through the food mill saves that step.  I was just going for the heightened flavor roasting lends to these peppers.  Set aside to cool before running the peppers through the food mill.

Ditto for tomatoes of your choice.  I used Costoluto Genovese just because that is my favorite. (Still.)

Peel garlic and set aside.  You could also roast this if you want that flavor.

After the tomatoes and peppers have cooled, run them through a food mill, or I suppose you could blend them with skins on, your choice.

I made small batches in the food processor so I could adjust ingredient amounts to taste:
Yield 1½ cups

1 cup roasted tomato purée
1 cup roasted sweet pepper purée
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
2 – 6 cloves of garlic ( Depends on the size of the cloves and your taste)
1 teaspoon + of smoky paprika
A glug of olive oil
Same for vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Process in food processor until desired consistency, jar up in smallish jars the size you think you may use up in a week or so.

This type of recipe which hails from Northern Spain fits in with the farmstead kitchen and garden.  You can make it fancy, or just use what you have on hand like most farm cooks do out of necessity.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2014 11:50 am

    You might be a little crazy. Heck, you might be a lot crazy. I can’t imagine getting through all those peppers and plums…and everything else. Let’s scratch “crazy” and go with “tired”. You have to be tired.

    • September 12, 2014 12:03 pm

      Yes, I’m tired and it’s hot, windy, extremely low humidity and I just noticed that the corn is ready :(, 🙂 And to add insult to injury, every other morning and on weekends the cows are out because of hunters! That adds an extra hour of unnecessary work to each day that I don’t have.

      • September 12, 2014 12:15 pm

        Are trespassers leaving gates open or are they running wildlife that are knocking down your fences?

        • September 12, 2014 12:45 pm

          Stealthily chasing with their bows, scared deer equal scared cows 😦 No gates open yet, knock on wood, this is just the beginning with bow season, rifle is next. Lots of bent posts, and shorted out fence and bewildered and thirsty cows. I don’t own a cow now that knows to go to the springs to drink, so they get pretty thirsty with their water on the other side of the hotwire. Dipshits for days….or actually months. If it’s not hunters it’s wildcrafters 😦

  2. quilterj3 permalink
    September 12, 2014 1:29 pm

    I have had my share of chasing cows, heifers, beefers etc, but in defense of the hunters and ‘wildcrafters’ they seem to be doing the same thing we are ie. attempting to provide meat /or wild foraged plants to augment store purchases for less than all the high prices today. Please don’t get me wrong, I love your blog and share ideas and recipes you present, reading every last one of them and comments too. Johanne

    • September 12, 2014 1:38 pm

      Johanne, there is plenty of public land to wildcraft on, and hunting on private property without permission is against the law, as is leaving most of the carcass to rot, which sadly happens all too much around here. I am sure there are responsible hunters, but unfortunately those aren’t the ones I see, and as far as providing, some have helped their selves to our beeves also. I am sorry for their plight, but it’s not cheap to hunt, you need a vehicle, a weapon, and all the other things that go with processing meat.

  3. September 12, 2014 5:19 pm

    Oh delicious! You are right about this being able to dove tail in with the other tomatoes.. some of my plants fell over in a recent storm and to tell the truth i was a little relieved!.. c

  4. September 12, 2014 5:43 pm

    Just rushed out to the glasshouse to have a quiet word with our pepper seedlings because this is one recipe I MUST try this season 🙂

  5. September 12, 2014 8:26 pm

    I’m sorry you have to deal with those inconsiderate “hunters”. Why would anyone “hunt” and leave the carcasses to rot. What a shameful waste. The recipe looks like a good one, Nita. I’m going to try it when I have my capsicums and chillis ready. I just planted the seeds for the Hungarian hot wax yesterday. I wanted to ask too, do you cook on/in a wood stove?

    • September 12, 2014 9:21 pm

      Rhondajean, I have no idea, I guess it’s just for sport, if by any stretch of the imagination that could be considered sporting.

      I do use a cookstove, but we have electric too, so I don’t use the woodstove in the summer during the hot weather.

  6. Brooke permalink
    September 15, 2014 5:28 am

    What caught my eye in this post was ‘We skipped pigs this year so that means the hens and cows get the bulk of what doesn’t head to the kitchen.’ I’ve become allergic to tomatoes so I took our overabundance of plum tomatoes down to the cows straightaway and the first cow ate 4 right away! But to my surprise, they liked the Anaheim peppers even more. Not a fan of kale though. Does this mean we can’t call them ‘grass-fed’ any longer? 🙂

    • September 15, 2014 7:30 am

      Jane’s taken a liking for cucumbers… maybe we should call it “Beyond grass-fed” 😉 I’m thinking your cows are leaning to a Tex-Mex flavor there with toms and peppers!

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