Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sweet and hot, Chow Chow Cha Cha

Cha-Cha.... Cha-Cha.... Cha! CHA!! Chow Chow....Choux Choux.....MMmmmmm.......

So you are ready to bring some sandwiches with you to the kids' game but something is missing! It must be the Chow Chow! You just can't have the Po' Boy without the Chow Chow!

I love to collect really old cookbooks. One I consulted from 1924 has at least a dozen brined, chopped, veggie recipes. Some are referred to as relish, others chow chow, pickles, soured, and piccalilli.

I have found that there is much debated lore concerning the origin of Chow Chow and the phrase itself - some of it pretty outrageous.  (Seriously every manner of irrationality from suggesting a Chinese origin to the similarity in color of someones Chow-chow dog) Generally the term 'Chow chow' is used in the south. In my opinion it is far more likely to be derived from the French language, and catholic migration patterns from Canada down to Louisiana.) Choux means cabbage in French. There you have it - Choux Choux :)

In the south it is common to hear of chow chow as well as Dixie relish in some areas - both pretty much the same thing. Every family seems to have their own version - and of course everyone thinks their grandmothers recipe is best. Not to be out done - I think mine is the best!

The English version is called Piccalilli and it appears that everywhere the British empire went the piccalilli was sure to go. The term and recipes for it appear to be handed down through families in the north east as well as in England, Australia, South Africa, etc.

The German tradition calls it sour. Sour green beans, sour brotten, sour bean salad, sour kraut, etc. This list really goes on and on.... and is pretty tasty too.

Obviously you can pickle just about anything - even pigs feet. Basically this all boils down to the brine (pun intended) - boiling, some part vinegar, some part sugar, some part herbs or spices, jars and lids. 

Now on to my very own best recipe - really it's the best ;)

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup granulated natural sugar
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (for that little tingle - if you want it hotter double tis to 1/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp all spice (berries, in a tea ball)
1/2 tsp mustard seed (also in tea ball)

First- Use one tea ball and fill with the all spice berries and mustard seeds. Place that in the pot you plan to cook all this in. Then add the vinegars and all dry ingredients to the pot and then begin the heat. Give a nice stir being careful to avoid opening the tea ball.  Simmer for ten minutes. Then add the following:

1 1/2  cup cabbage, raw and shredded
1  red pepper, seeded and chopped very finely - pencil eraser size
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped very finely - pencil eraser size
1 yellow onion, chopped very finely - pencil eraser size

Place all of the above items into the pot with the vinegar and spice mix. Simmer the items all together for another ten  to fifteen minutes. Then remove pot from heat and just let cool.

When all cool remove tea ball, being mindful not to open it into the pot. Discard its contents. Give the potted mix a good stir.

♥ Southern Chow Chow ♥ (Sweet and hot)
Southern Chow Chow (Sweet and hot)
☺enlarged to show detail ☺
Using clean mason jars and lids, ladle the choux choux (see the French there? lol) into the jars. Some people may prefer to seal them but we use them quickly. I place the lids on tight and put them into the fridge. Mmmmmmmmmmm good!

Now that you have your Chow Chow - go make those po'boys and enjoy that game!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment here: