Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chow Chow

Last fall I enthusiastically took the last of the green tomatoes off of my plants and made chow chow.  For those of you who have never had it, chow chow is a relish of Victorian English origins.  It generally includes green tomatoes, cabbage, and red pepper, but this varies depending on the maker.  It can be super hot or super sweet or just plain old sour, like a good pickle.  It generally includes mustard seeds.  In the United States it is particularly popular in the South.  As I made the chow chow, I though what I am going to eat this with?  I've never lived in a household where chow chow was a regular condiment. I just found the recipe in my pickling book. So I did what any modern American would do. To the internet, batman!

Some searching quickly revealed a number of uses.  In the South it is always served along side pinto beans. It is also common to spoon it over chilli and stews.  I found directions for mashing it into sour cream, mayo, or cream cheese to use as a spread on bread or as a dip, and of course it is commonly used on hamburgers and hot dogs the way northerners use cucumber relish. Then there were the ideas that really got me excited.  Chow chow on sandwiches - grilled cheese, egg and cheese, tuna salad, you name it.  I generally put salsa on my grilled cheese and egg and cheese sandwiches anyway, so this sounded perfect.

Last week I made grilled cheese on whole wheat with cheddar cheese and chow chow.  Delicious! My chow chow is on the sour side with just enough mustardy tang, which was perfect with the sharp cheddar cheese. I can't wait to try it on other sandwiches.

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