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The Plainsman's Kitchen: Bourbon-pickled jalapenos

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One last batch of jalapenos from the garden, mixed with a little bourbon and honey, make for a nice segue into fall.

Bourbon-pickled jalapenos
Bourbon-pickled jalapenos

I got the last of the jalapenos from my brother this weekend. They were shiny and perfect, and I wasn't quite sure I wanted to fry them. I knew that there was no way we were going to be able to eat all of them raw before they went bad, so I decided the next best thing was to soak them in bourbon. Isn't that every jalapeno's dream?

Bourbon-pickled jalapenos

Barely adapted from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee

Yield: 1½ quarts

Ingredients

Slightly less than 1 pound of jalapeno peppers

1¼ cups distilled white vinegar

1 cup bourbon

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

Directions

Slice the jalapenos into ¼ inch thick rounds. Place into jar.

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Combine the vinegar, bourbon, honey, coriander seeds, salt, mustard seeds and bay leaves into a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

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Pour the hot liquid over the peppers in the jar. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and allow the jar to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate. Allow the peppers to "pickle" for three days. The peppers will keep for two weeks.

Notes

This is a "quick pickle" recipe and it relies on the vinegar to supercharge the pickling process. A true pickle is a vegetable that has fermented in brine and requires the full blown canning process -- boiling jars, boiling lids, water bath and waiting for the lids to "pop." I just don't have time for true canning at the moment. Maybe I'll try that during basketball baseball the offseason.

Every time I followed the recipe exactly (it actually calls for one pound of jalapenos), I never had enough liquid to cover the peppers. This could be directly related to the jars I use. I currently use .75L Le Parfait jars because I like the convenience of the wire hinge and the orange rubber seal. I generally use 12-14 ounces of jalapenos (depending on the volume ready to be picked from the plant). If I have more or less, I adjust the ingredients accordingly.

These are fantastic on sandwiches or dropped into a glass of vodka for a bracing take on a dirty martini. I personally like to add a spoonful of the sweet brine to a little bourbon with some mint.

If you are not a jalapeno fanatic like we are, I suggest deseeding a few peppers here and there. The three-day cure won't remove all the heat, so if you see me on Saturday with tears streaming down my face, one of two things has happened. One, I ate too many jalapenos or two, my football child -- Chris Davis -- has returned a punt for a touchdown. Either way, #wardamn.

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