Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly

Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly is a variation on rosehip jelly, but with a subtle kick.  I find it a perfect accompaniment to roasted squash or sweet potatoes and it is an invaluable addition to sticky spare ribs or, indeed, almost any roast pork dish.

 

Rosehips in pan

I tend to make this in fairly small batches as, although I use it a lot, you need such a small amount that a couple of jars will go a long way.  This recipe is adapted from one by River Cottage for rosehip and apple jelly.

Ingredients (makes 2-3 large jars)  If you have more rosehips, scale up the recipe accordingly.

1lb 10oz (750g) cooking apples or crab apples.  This is about two very large cooking apples.
9oz (250g) rosehips
16oz (450g) granulated sugar

Chilli: according to taste and availability. I used:
1 large, dried ancho chilli
2 small, dried chipotle chilli
A few pinches of smoked paprika
This combination will bring heat and depth, but any fresh, dried or powdered chilli combination will work.

1. Rinse the rosehips and remove stalks and leaves. Chop roughly by hand or in food processor.  Rinse and roughly chop the apples, keeping core and skin on as you need these for the pectin.

2. Put in a pan with about a pint of water (600ml) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recommends cooking them all together but I found that the rosehips took longer, so I added these first and then put my apples in when the rosehips started to feel tender as the apples will be cooked in no time. Simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy.

3. Strain. This is the part which may be hard for students if you don’t have a kitchen equipped with such things as jelly bags.  However, almost any gauzy material would work and you can lay it in a sieve over a bowl.  I bet even an old pair of tights would make a perfect jam sieve! To sterilise the cloth, just pour some boiling water over it before using (especially if using old tights!)  Let the juice drip through.  Don’t be tempted to push it through or squeeze the fabric or you will get cloudy jelly. Yes, it looks absolutely disgusting at this stage!

Sieving rosehip & apple

4. The next day, measure the juice.  You should have about a pint (600ml)  If not, add water to make it up to this quantity.

5. The chilli part of this recipe is entirely down to your personal taste and availability of chilli.  Remove the seeds from the chilli if using fresh or dried chilli.  Chop the chilli finely or blitz in a food processor. Put in a small bowl and add about 100ml of boiling water and leave to soak for a few minutes. Mix into a paste. Don’t add the smoked paprika yet.

Chillis

6. Bring to the boil and add the sugar.  Then add the chilli paste mix.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until the jelly reaches setting point.  When it looks almost ready, add the smoked paprika to taste. This way you can monitor the chilli heat and can keep adding a sprinkle until you reach a heat which suits you.

Sugar into pan

7. The best way to test this is to have a couple of old jam lids or something similar which you have put in the freezer to cool.  Put a drop of the jelly on the cold jam lid and leave for a minute.  If it starts to wrinkle when you push it, it is ready.  If not, wash that jam lid and put back in the freezer.  Use the other lid next time and keep alternating them until you know that the jam is set. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking it is ready and then having to boil it all up again when you have bottled it and found it doesn’t set.

8. Skim any scum from the top of the jelly and pour into sterilised jars. The easiest way to do this is to leave jars and lids in the oven for about 10 minutes. Seal the jars, wipe the outside and label when cool and dry.

9. Spread on roast pork, ribs, squash, sweet potato. Delicious!

Smoked chilli jelly

 

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