Cook Your Cupboard: Chowchow Down With Jacques Pepin

| July 16, 2013
currants, pickled onions and chowchow

Samantha Lunn in Chattanooga, Tenn., wants to know what to do with currants, pickled onions and chowchow. Courtsey of Samantha Lunn.

This is an installment of NPR’s Cook Your Cupboard, an ongoing food series about working with what you have on hand. Have a food that has you stumped? Share a photo and we’ll ask chefs about our favorites. The current submission category: Booze!

Chef Jacques Pepin

Chef Jacques Pepin on the set of his show More Fast Food My Way. Greg Habiby/Courtesy of KQED

Celebrity French chef Jacques Pepin suggests how to use chowchow, pickled onions and currants — foods submitted by Samantha Lunn in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Spice up your barbecue with some chowchow:

Chowchow is a Southern American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables like green and red tomatoes, cabbage, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas. All of these vegetables are kept in a jar and served cold.

Lunn received some as a gift from her mother-in-law and has been using it in egg salad for a while.

Pepin recommends using it as a savory topping for hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and as a glaze for ham.

For a glaze, just puree it, put it on top of ham, and bake it in the oven.

It can also be used as a side relish for any kind of meat stew with a spicy touch to it.

Pickled onions for more than just martinis:

Lunn also received a jar of pickled onions as a gift, but hasn’t found much use for them aside from decorating martinis.

Pepin’s advice: Serve them with any kind of pate or cold meat.

You can also make a sophisticated glaze that goes well with pork chops: Add a bit of sugar to the pickles, cook in a skillet with a dash of butter, and cook until it caramelizes. Serve with pork chops or other types of meat.

Everything currants:

Currants, or tiny dried raisins, are mostly used in baked goods, but Pepin mixes them into rice, in any pork glaze or stuffing for turkey.

“They’re terrific on ice cream,” he adds, if mixed with any apricot jam or honey.

The chef even suggested adding them to chowchow for a spicy-sweet taste.

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