Posted September 16, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Hot pepper jelly a primary staple of the South

By Courtney Taylor

No doubt about it. Hot pepper jelly is one of the grand gifts of the Southern kitchen, a primary staple if there ever was one.

Most Southerners could not conceive of ham, cream cheese or pork loin without hot pepper jelly.

A simple jelly spiced up with bell peppers and red pepper flakes, it delivers a sweet-hot flavor combination.

Beyond Crackers

Although I like it just fine with cream cheese and crackers, two flavor components seem to be missing: the tart and the aromatic. So I started experimenting with other ingredients.

To my delight, I discovered that the jar of familiar jelly exploded with possibilities. Wasabi, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves, rosemary, roasted garlic, lime, orange or balsamic vinegar.

The combinations took my breath away!

Since making jelly is an ordeal that most of us don’t have the time or equipment to tackle, I suggest melting your favorite brand of hot pepper jelly over low heat and stirring in any added flavoring of choice to taste.

If you are planning to serve your new sensation with a delicate meat, add extras a smidgen at a time so as not to overpower your particular dish.

Veal scallopini

If you’d rather follow a recipe, try veal scallopini with herbs and hot pepper jelly for starters.

Sprinkle 4 scallopini, pounded thin, with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the scallopini briefly until lightly browned on both sides.

Remove them from the skillet and keep warm. Pour off the excess oil.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the skillet and deglaze the pan, stirring to loosen any browned bits.

Turn the heat to medium high and bring the stock to the boil. Add 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage and reduce by half.

Add a handful of chopped toasted pecans, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon hot pepper jelly (or more to taste), 2 tablespoons butter and reduce again by about a quarter or until sauce has thickened a bit.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

This, of course, is just one possibility.

Think of hot pepper jelly with roasted garlic butter in a sweet potato; hot pepper jelly with wasabi and lime juice drizzled over grilled shrimp; hot pepper jelly simmered with dried fruit and mustard seeds poured over roast pork shoulder

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog