Piccalilli… chow chow

I totally grew up on “chow chow”, cheese and pickle sammies were a school time favorite so when I stumbled across this British recipe to make your own, I had to give it a shot.  It’s pretty authentic and tastes exactly how I remember it to be.  Nothing like fresh baked bread, a good smear of butter, generous portion of piccalilli and a good hunk of cheddar to make a great sandwich.

Piccalilli (adapted from here)

1/2 a medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets

1/2 cup salt

7 cups water

1 large onion cut into medium dice

1 medium cucumber cut, seeded, cut into medium dice

1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup malt vinegar

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 c superfine sugar

1 tsp pickling spice

1/4 c all purpose flour

2 oz butter (1/2 a stick)

2 tsp tumeric

1 1/4 tsp mustard powder

fresh pepper

Dissolve the salt into the 7 cups water.  Add all the vegetables (cauliflower, onion, cucumber, capers).  Put a plate onto the vegetables to make sure they stayed submerged in the brine. Cover and keep in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day: remove the brine and vegetables from the fridge, drain and rinse the vegetables well. Place the rinsed vegetables into a pan, cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place the two vinegars, pickling spice and sugar into a large stainless steel pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

In another pan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir thoroughly. Cook gently, over a low heat, for 2 minutes taking care not to burn the flour. Strain the spiced vinegar and slowly add to the butter and flour, it will thicken immediately,  add the turmeric, mustard powder and black pepper stir well. You should now have a brightly colored, thick sauce.

Pour the thick sauce over the drained vegetables and stir well making sure all the vegetables are coated in the sauce. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Keep for at least one week before opening, once opened the jars must be kept in the refrigerator, unopened the jars will keep for at least six months in a dark, cool place.


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