MILWAUKEE -- Have a bunch of odds and ends leftover from your garden? Then you should whip chow-chow! Our master preserver, Christina Ward, joins Real Milwaukee with an end of the season relish that's popular in Milwaukee.
Chow Chow or sometimes called `cha cha`, is unique as the cook who makes it! The core elements are cabbage and green tomatoes, but the recipe is a relish that uses up garden odds and ends. This is a traditional African-American dish with a rich history and influence on southern cuisine. It's popular in Milwaukee communities because of the Great Migration that brought so many families north to the manufacturing cities during the 1920-30's.
• 1 1⁄2 lb. pickling cucumbers
• 2 lb. Vidalia, or other sweet onions, finely chopped
• 1 1⁄2 lb. green tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
• 1 small head cabbage (about 21⁄2 lb.), cut into 1-inch dice
• 3⁄4 cup 100% pure canning salt
• 2 qt. water
• 4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
• 1⁄2 lb. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 small head cauliflower (about 11⁄2 lb.), broken into florets.
• 2 qt. apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
• 1⁄2 cup prepared horseradish
• 2 Tbsp. mustard seeds
• 1⁄2 tsp. celery seeds
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 medium-size green bell peppers, finely chopped
• 2 medium-size red bell peppers, finely chopped
• 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
• 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1⁄2 cup Dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
• 1 tsp. curry powder
1. Quarter cucumbers lengthwise; cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch slices. Layer cucumber slices, onions, tomatoes, and cabbage in a 1-gal. food-grade plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Dissolve pickling salt in 2 qt. water. Pour salt water over vegetables in container, adding up to 2 cups additional water, if necessary, to cover vegetables; secure lid on container. Chill overnight. Drain; rinse 2 or 3 times under cold running water. Drain and place in a large bowl.
3. Bring a 6-qt. pot of water and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch green beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes; transfer beans to ice water with a slotted spoon. Drain and add to cabbage mixture. Repeat procedure with cauliflower.
4. Bring vinegar to a boil in a large stainless steel or enameled stock pot. Add horseradish and next 3 ingredients; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeño peppers. Return to a boil; add brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. kosher salt. Return to a boil; carefully add drained vegetables. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until vegetables are thoroughly heated.
5. Ladle hot chowchow into a hot jar, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
6. Remove jars and cool