Roasted Red Pepper Relish (Ajvar) – Recipe for homemade sweet and roasted red pepper relish. A jam-like condiment that tastes delicious on everything, from bread to meats!
If there was ever a food that I could not be without, it would have to be this – Ajvar (Eye-vahr).
Growing up in Macedonia you knew it was September just by the smell of the neighborhood – Ajvar, or Roasted Red Pepper Relish, and other Zimnica, was cookin’!
WHAT IS ROASTED RED PEPPER RELISH – AJVAR
Zimnica (Zeem-knee-tsa) comes from the word Zima which means Winter, and Zimnica translates to “winter food”. Winter-Food includes, Ajvar, all jams and jellies, compotes, pickled peppers, pickled tomatoes, pickled etc… Basically, anything that can be stuffed in a jar is a Zimnica. 🙂
But, if you were to do a poll, I bet my whisks and spoons that Ajvar would win as the best Zimnica food, ever! Though everyone has their own recipe for Ajvar, one ingredient is for certain – roasted red peppers. In other parts of the Balkans some include eggplants, garlic, green peppers, and so on, but I like the Macedonian recipe the best (I’m a bit biased :)) – just red peppers, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.
If you have a minute, please give this a try. You’ll love me for it. I promise!
Recipe for homemade sweet and roasted red pepper relish. A jam-like condiment that tastes delicious on everything, from bread to meats!
- 8 red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Wash and dry the peppers.
- Prick bell peppers in several places with fork.
- Place on baking sheet and roast the peppers for 40 minutes or until skin is blackened, turning occasionally.
- Transfer peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Remove peppers from bag; peel off and discard skin.
- Cut the peppers open and discard the seeds.
- Cut the peppers in one inch pieces and place them inside a food processor and pulse/puree to a consistency of a chutney.
- Put the pepper puree in a pot, add in salt, black pepper, and olive oil, and cook over medium heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
- Taste for salt and pepper.
- While the Ajvar is cooking, prepare your jars:
Preheat oven to 170.
- Wash the jars, then put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.
- When the Ajvar is done, remove from the stove and let cool for a few minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO on the stove top.
- Pour the Ajvar into the jars and place them on a baking sheet.
- Put the jars in the oven for a few minutes, or until a thin crust forms on top of the Ajvar.
- Once you see the crust, pour the heated EVOO over each jar, just enough to cover.
- Remove from the oven and seal. Or do what I did – dig in with warm, homemade crusty bread and a side of feta cheese. YUM! Our Ajvar never made it to the Zimnica pile – we always ate it/eat it way before the first snow even appears.
- Ajvar is also a great accompaniment to grilled meats, especially lamb, chicken, and sausages.
- Store in a dry and dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
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