It’s that time of year again: while preserving the bounty of Fall continues (apples, quince, and pumpkins galore), the urgency has ramped down a notch and I have time to focus on replenishing Tai’s mustard supply. This batch started out as my standard habanero recipe, except I swapped tequila for vodka. As I was reducing it in the saucepan, that tequila must have been on my mind, because at the last minue I tossed in some lime juice and a healthy dose of ground chipotle. The flavor profile, according to Tai, is quite spicy from the habaneros (although that will mellow as it sits on the shelf) but also very nicely smoky from the chipotles, with a hint of lime throughout. Tai did a happy little mustard hop when he tasted it: I’m guessing that’s a good thing.
- 6 large habanero peppers (fresh or frozen), divided
- 3/4 cup tequila
- 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity if canning)
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Slice 4 of the habanero peppers in half, retaining seeds. Add to a small saucepan with the tequila. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, press on the peppers with the back of a spoon to release juices, then allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain tequila into a small bowl, pressing on the peppers to extract juices. Discard (or compost) the peppers. Add the mustard seeds to the infused tequila, cover, and let sit overnight (or until the seeds have absorbed most of the liquid; at least 4 hours).
- If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Halve and seed the remaining habanero peppers (reserve seeds to add back heat if needed). Add the soaked mustard seeds, with any remaining liquid, the habaneros, and the cider vinegar to a food processor. Process until most of the mustard seeds are chopped; leave some seeds for a grainy texture, or chop completely for a smooth mustard, as you desire.
- Transfer the pureed mustard seed mixture to a medium saucepan. Add mustard powder, honey, lime juice, chipotle and salt; whisk together over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and reduce mustard to the desired consistency, remembering that it will thicken upon cooling (about 5 – 10 minutes for this). Ladle hot mustard into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 2 and 1/2 cups.
- This mustard is quite spicy right out of the pan; time will tell how it will mellow on the shelf. To decrease the spice, simply reduce the amount of habanero peppers; to increase, either add the pepper seeds to the food processor with the mustard seed, or include more peppers in the tequila infusion. Do not increase the amount of fresh pepper in the mustard in order to maintain a safe pH for canning (if you will store refrigerated, no need to worry about this).
- Wild mustard plants grow all over the Northeast and many of them have seeds that can be harvested in the fall; however, to harvest a cup of seeds may require some time and energy! If you have an abundant supply of mustard seed near you, you can substitute wild mustard seed, grind some of the seeds for a dry mustard powder, and make this recipe with local, foraged mustard. Cool!
Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 2 months.
Habanero peppers are available in farmer’s markets in late summer through early Fall, but with frozen peppers you can make this mustard year-round.