Zanahorias en Escabeche or Mexican Spicy Pickled Carrots
Zanahorias en escambeche translates to pickled carrots from Spanish. (Specifically zanahorias is the word for carrots and escabeche is the pickling juice.) The zanahorias are usually served as an accompaniment or condiment to Mexican dishes. Have you noticed when you buy certain brands of canned Jalapenos there are usually a few carrots and onion, well these are the same thing. When we open a new can of Jalapenos and I see the carrots and onions inside I immediately grab those and start munching away, they are just so good. I’ve always liked having these on the table to top weather it be my tacos, testates or well just about any dish that I would use a Jalapeno to top.
The carrots should have a bit of a crunch to them and not be too soft or mushy, but I understand we all have different taste and that is why I am leaving the “crunchiness” level up to you. These of course are spicy pickled carrots, but please feel free to adjust with less or by possibly omitting the chili peppers if you like. Also please notice the chili pepper suggestions in the recipe below, you may use any of the peppers listed or a combination for a different taste.
3/4 lb. or 340 grams of Carrots
1 large yellow or white onion
2-3 fresh hot peppers ( Jalapenos,Serrano,Dutch red chili)
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 teas. peppercorns
1 teas. oregano
1 teas. salt
2 cups or 500 ml plain vinegar
3 cups or 750 ml of water
1/8 cup or 30 ml of olive oil
Jars and lids, sanitized ( I am using 2 small you may only need 1 large one)
1 Pot -to mix water and vinegar
* To prepared or sanitize the jars and lids for : You can do this quickly by placing the jars and lids inside a large and deep pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Leave the jars and lids inside the boiling water until the carrots are ready to be poured in. Another way to sanitize the jars by washing them in a dish washer with very hot water temperature.
1. Peel the carrots and slice into 2 inch/ 5 cm pieces either straight across or diagonally. (*Please notice that if you are using small carrots this size will seem to large, so just slice either diagonally or into coins to the size you feel suits your taste*). Peel and chop the onion into 4 parts, peel and slice the garlic cloves into halves. Slice the chili peppers into quarters.
2. In a pot mix the water and vinegar and bring to a soft boil under low medium heat. Let sit covered until it is ready to be used in step #4.
3. In a a large frying pan heat the oil,add the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the chili, onion,garlic, and bay leaves then cook for another 10 minutes. Add the salt,oregano and peppercorns and cook for about 3 minutes, stir to combine the spices and vegetables well. Test a piece of carrot to see how crisp or tender it is. The texture is up to you.
You will now need to carefully remove the sanitized jars and lids from the water, being careful not to burn yourself. Use a pair of thongs and or oven mitts to prevent burning. Make sure the jars are empty of any water.
4. In one of the sanitized jars place enough carrot mixture until it is 3/4 filled, then pour in water vinegar mixture, but not all the way to the rim leave enough room so it doesn’t spill. Seal tightly and set aside until the other jar is filled and ready. Now both the jars need to sit and cool down, make sure they are tightly sealed. Once they are at warm to the touch or at room temperature you can put them in the refrigerator. Let them sit in there at least overnight or longer if you want, the longer the more the flavors will mix. The carrots will keep up to a couple of months in the refrigerator.
These can be served as a garnish or side with any Mexican meals. Or if you love them like me you will eat them straight out of the jar as a spicy snack, yum!
*UPDATE* (12th August 2010)
This recipe is being feauted on Food News Journal Best of the Blogs. Check it out ↓ and thank you Heather/ GirliChef for letting me know.
*Thank you Barb for catching the typo*