Monday, October 16, 2006

Basil Wine Jelly

One of my favorite things to eat is cheese. Soft cheese, hard cheese, French cheese, goat cheese - almost any kind of cheese you name, I like. Last night, I had a lovely cheese sampler plate at one of my favorite restaurants, and it got me thinking about things that go well with cheese. My mind immediately went to the Hot Pepper and Garlic Jelly I made for a friend's wedding, which paired beautifully with the cheese plate.

Almost nothing pairs better with cheese than wine, so I decided to start with a nice, meaty shiraz. The fresh basil leaves, which are steeped in the wine, add just enough of flavor, so as not to be overwhelming. This jelly pairs wonderfully with this super sharp cheddar, although I'm sure it would be just as wonderful with a goat cheese.

This is also a very easy recipe to make, and active cooking and canning time is about 30 minutes. I've also included some easy canning instructions, which won't require any special equipment.

Basil Wine Jelly

Basil Wine Jelly
Yield - 4 (1/2 pt) jars
2 c red wine
1/2 c basil leaves, cut into strips
1/4 c lemon juice
3 1/2 c sugar
1 (3 oz) pkg liquid pectin (Certo or whichever brand is available)

Bring 1 c wine to boil in a small saucepan. Add basil leaves, remove from heat, and cover. Allow to steep for 30-45 minutes. Strain out basil leaves and discard. Add remaining wine, lemon juice, and sugar to large saucepan, as well as the basil wine. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil 1 minute. Stir in liquid pectin, stirring constantly, and return to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pour into 1/2 pint jars and seal.

*The easiest way to can is this - wash and dry canning jars thoroughly. Place lids and rings in a pot of barely simmering water. Once jelly is ready, fill a jar, leaving about a 1/8" headspace. With tongs, remove lid and ring from water, place on jar, and tighten, although not all the way. Turn jar upside down on a dishtowel. Repeat with remaining jars. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Turn upright and allow to seal. Tighten rings on all jars. If any of the jars don't seal, simply store in the refrigerator once cool. The other jars can be stored in a pantry for 8 months to a year, if it lasts that long.


Sara said...

Sounds wonderful. I love hot pepper jelly with cheese. I'll have to try this soon.

Special Sauce said...

So I think that A. I am much more in love with this than I originally had believed I would be, and B. I need to find small jelly jars, because I think this, paired with some Famous Fiber Pepper Jelly, and some Famous Fiber Cheese Crackers and other oddments will be the boss gifties (file under "party in a basket") for the holidays this year.

Harmonia said...

Red wine! WOw! Neat idea! Lovely picture...award-winning even!

Kate said...

I agree this is perfect for gift-giving- especially for cheese and wine groups. Your photo is amazing-- as always!

Wyv said...

That looks incredibly tasty - I'll definitely have to try that next time I get a hankering for cheese!

Reminds me of Maggie Beer's pastes - only better because you make them yourself!

Amelia Moag said...

Does the quality of the red wine matter? Is it OK to use a mid- to bottom-shelf choice?