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CHILES EN ESCABECHE : Tequila-Pickled jalapenos and vegetables

This bright, crunchy combination of fresh vegetables and chiles en escabeche (which means pickled with spices and vinegar) will find a place on your table every day. The pickled jalapeños and vegetables add zest to tortas, burritos, tacos, salads, beans, and soup. Or just munch away on the chiles and vegetables between bites: they are an extraordinary palate cleanser. Aficionados of this addictive condiment know that cooking the jalapeños doesn’t mellow their heat at all. Quite the opposite, it spreads the heat of the chiles, so that the carrot is often the spiciest vegetable in the bowl. Serrano chiles may be substituted, but they will have more heat and less chile flavor. The finished chiles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, and, in my opinion, they just keep getting better.

Makes about 1 quart

INGREDIENTS

8 jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise 5 small red Fresno chiles, halved lengthwise 3 small güero chiles, halved lengthwise ½ small head cauliflower, broken into 1-inch pieces ½ chayote squash, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 carrot, peeled and sliced on an angle ½ white onion, cut into ½-inch strips 2 large cloves garlic, sliced 1 tablespoon kosher salt 2 dried bay leaves 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds 6 whole cloves 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cups white vinegar 2 cups cider vinegar 2 tablespoons blanco tequila

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2½ hours, or until the vegetables are just tender when poked with the tip of a knife. Let cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator, leaving the vegetables in the pickling liquid.

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