homemade pickle relish
adapted from Gourmet
When I used to hear the words South and America, images of sunshine, hammocks and frozen drinks under palm trees immediately came to mind. Then I actually moved to South America. Low and behold, like any other continent, climate and atmosphere varies from country to country, and from region to region. My region? To explain, as I sit here typing at my computer, I am nursing a brutal sunburn while it rains and hails outside. Needless to say, with the weather darting around the way it does, I tend to get seasonally confused.
So while my friends and family back home in Canada pour mugs of hot chocolate and munch on piping hot scones, I shake my fist in the air and defy this undeserved cold. I’ve got me a hankering for a burger! And one of my favorite parts of a burger? A good pickle relish.
To be honest, I was not always a fan of relish. It struck me as overly-sweet and obnoxiously green. I opted for dill pickles and mustard and passed up the relish. That is, until I realized what I was passing up was not real pickle relish. When you get to cook your cukes stove top and control the sugar and vinegar, what you are left with is so scrumptious and fantastic, you’ll never want to reach for a neon green bottle of “relish” ever again!
pickle relish recipe:
(makes 2 cups)
4 lebanese cucumbers, finely chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp flour (stirred into 2 tsp water, to avoid clumping)
The first step to making relish is pulling some of the water out of the cucumbers. I have done it before without this step, just throwing the cukes straight in, and it’s not as if a giant cucumber will appear to smack you across the face or anything. It can still work, but for sure pulling some water out concentrates the flavors better and prevents it from being overly liquidy.
So, chop up your cucumber into fine pieces and toss in a sieve with plenty of salt. (Mmm, salt…)
Truth be told, normally I have no patience for something like “Now let it drain for a hundred hours.” However, I thought I’d give it at least a half hour to let some water drain off. Meantime I remembered I had to change the sheets, clean up my hair that had accumulated around the bathroom that lately is coming off by the bushels, (what’s that about?) and I supposed the stove could use a scrubbing… yup before I knew what had happened I was singing along to La Roux while whipping around the apt. like a domestic goddess. (Well, goddess all but for the ponytail and sweatpants.) My husband knows by now not to get his hopes up with these random fits of energetic cleaning. They come around about as often as a lunar eclipse.
By the time I came back to the cucumbers a good 3 1/2 hours must have passed! Point being: Tons of water drained out and the apt. looked so good I was hoping for an unexpected visitor so I could make a sweeping gesture while saying “Oh, do come in, I apologize, I just haven’t had time to clean this week!” *wink*
In a pot over medium-high heat, bring vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Boil for a few minutes and add cucumber, onion and chilli. Reduce heat and cook for approximately 5 minutes. I like it to be tender but still have some crunch!
At this point, stir in your flour/water mixture. It might go cloudy at first but don’t panic, it’ll cook out and look less murky. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow to come to room temperature then refrigerate in an air-tight container.
Oh! But before you do that, put a big ol’ spoonful on your gorgeous, juicy burger. Now you can put it in the fridge.
I have no clue what’s going on with this funky weather, but I’m eatin’ a burger. With relish! I’m a happy girl.