Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes

If there's one thing Southerners and Turks can agree on, it's a love of a variety of pickles, or tursu as they are called in Turkey.

Here's an unusual but delicious recipe for pickled Jerusalem artichokes that I think would satisfy both Western and Mid-Eastern palates.  It's from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee; Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners.

Makes 2 pints
Time: 4 hours soaking, 45 minutes preparation

2 pint-sized, wide-mouth Ball jars, with rims and lids

1 3/4 pounds Jerusalem artichokes, washed and patted dry
1 quart water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
3 whole allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole red peppercorns (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 dried red hot chiles (Thai or chiles de arbol)

1) Bring a 3-quart pot, three quarters full of water, to a boil. Carefully set the jars on their sides, along with their lids and a slotted metal spoon, in the boiling water to sterilize. Allow to boil for 15 minutes then remove from the water carefully with a pair of tongs or a jar lifter and set aside.

2) Peel and trim the artichokes, separating them into smaller lobes. Cut them further down into chunks that are sized about halfway between a chestnut and a grape (you should end up with about 4 cups of artichoke chunks).

3) In a bowl, combine the artichokes with the quart of water and one tablespoon of the salt, stir to dissolve, and soak for 4 hours on a shady countertop or overnight in the refrigerator. Then drain and rinse the artichokes and pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth.

4) Bring the vinegar and the cup of water to a boil in a 3-quart stockpot with the remaining salt, the sugar, and all the spices except the red chiles, and boil for 4 minutes. The steaming-hot vinegar brine will become fragrant as it steeps the spices, but its viscosity will still be quite thin.

5) Using the slotted spoon, place one pepper in each of the jars, then carefully pack the jars with the artichokes and carefully pour the hot vinegar brine over the artichokes up to 1/2 inch below the neck. Divide any spices that remain in the pan between the jars. Seal the jars, allow to cool, and store in the refrigerator. Pickled artichokes will keep for about 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

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