Thursday, March 29, 2007

Seville Orange Marmalade with Bay Leaves and Chiles

Here it is! (my first marmalade, and my first online self-portrait)

I came dangerously close to not cooking my headily fragrant Seville orange. I had never made marmalade or any kind of preserves, and I wasn’t ready to bite into a whole new area of cookery, especially not one that involved straining anything through muslin, but then I read this comment from Lindy:

We never see Seville oranges in Pittsburgh. I am jealous, jealous, jealous.

In case you missed my answer:

First, don't be jealous; Pittsburgh is the only place I ever saw a vegetable called Jew's mallow, so that's pretty cool.
Second, this is for you. I was thinking I am so busy, and the holidays are so soon, and my writing project is so massive, that maybe it was enough just to get a few pots of orangeade out of Senora Sevilla, but having read your comment just a few minutes ago, I said, if they can't find Seville oranges in Pittsburgh, I just HAVE to make marmalade, so I fished my now thrice-poached orange out of the icebox, hacked it to gobbeties, mixed it with an equal weight of sugar (7 ounces) and cooked it with two bay leaves and three mild chile peppers. I am boiling the jar as I type these words.

And so I was. I stayed up much too late so I could try it as soon as the marmalade was cool enough to taste. This is a complex, wonderfully satisfying marmalade. I made a small quantity, which will be completely engulfed by the end of this week, but if you are planning to keep your marmalade for a while, do take the time to find out how to sterilize the jars correctly. My lid never made that pop, which I understand is the sound of properly made preserves. The chiles I used are very mild decorative peppers, mountain-grown in Colorado by my cherished friend Shmuel, to whom great thanks.

Seville Orange Marmalade with Bay Leaves and Chiles

1 Seville orange (7 ounces)

Sugar equal in weight to the orange

2 bay leaves

3 mild chiles (optional)

pinch salt

Cut the orange in quarters and boil it in three waters. Drink the orange water with or without sugar and/or spirits. Cut up the orange and remove the seeds and the coarsest bits of membrane at the very center. Grind half of the fruit, and chop or slice the rest. Combine the cut and ground orange in a stainless steel saucepan with sugar, salt, bay leaves and chiles. Cook until the color deepens to a darkish amber (I did not check the cooking time). Pour into a sterile jar, and boil the jar.

Enjoy on toast with tea, or in the tea, a la Russe.

Be sure to see Kalyn's roundup of this Weekend's Herb Blogging.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Richard Leader said...

Sounds interesting and good! As implied in my previous comment, I do make marmalade once or twice a year - but have never added chilli or bay!

Perhaps the most interesting flavoured marmalade I've had included bergamont - usually only found as the flavouring for Earl Grey Tea (indeed, the marmalade was made by the tea company Twinings and for sale in their shop on the Strand, London - sadly they no longer make it).

Another good fruit for marmalade is the grapefruit - it has that tartness that seville oranges also have. Now what interesting herb or spice could you put in that??

8:45 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

richard leader,

I think lavender or a tiny bit of rosemary would go well with grapefruit.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Now come on! You must let us see more of you than that. When I come to New York I'm taking your photo, the same way Elise took that picture of me.

The marmalade sounds good. I saw these type of oranges in Greece growing on trees. Never tried anything made from them though, but I love sour things. Your idea of bay and chile is great!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

That sounds wonderful! I think your pepper and bay are genius additions-clever girl. I continue to envy you.
But what is this "jew's mallow" of which you speak? And where , in Pittsburgh, was it? Inquiring minds want to know!

5:13 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

kalyn,

Ah, give 'em a hand, and they want an arm.

lindy,

I see now that you have lots of useful marmalade information I should have read or reread first, but you know how it is when a Seville orange is burning a hole in your pocket. I am still not sure exactly what Jew's mallow is, but it is sold as a dried, powdery, leafy vegetable and you are supposed to reconstititute it with water. I saw it in an Egyptian grocery shop on a street with lots of international grocery shops (as I recall; this was eleven years ago). Could this be "the strip"? I think it might have been called something like that.

kalyn and lindy,

thank you so very much. I first combined chiles and bay with fruit in my tsimes, and it seemed like this would work too. I think I got the idea of bay leaves from Alice Arndt's Seasoning Savvy. There was a recipe for an orange-ginger-jalapeno tart in the NYTimes about twenty years ago that was delicious. I will have to find that. That and the Jew's Mallow information.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Helene said...

I do make marmelade more than once a year, but never thought of adding chilly or bay leaves. :))

5:44 AM  
Anonymous lindy said...

Ha! I wish I did know how it was to have a Seville orange burning a hole in my pocket.

When I was in Andalucia, where the city street trees of Cordoba, Seville, and Granada were bitter orange trees, I was constantly distracted . Of course, all the oranges within reach of a person of normal height were gone. And there were so many, just out of reach.I was bouncing a lot, to no avail.

My cousin, with whom I traveled, said that it was just as well, as she would not have wanted to spend a good portion of her holiday with a person searching for stove access- or to get stopped at the airport with contraband fruit. Being practical, she also dissuaded me from any attempt to import an entire ham.
Sometimes, I need a minder.

Yes, yes, on the lavender rosemary grapefruit idea. Brilliant.

2:22 PM  
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