Stuffed Small Round Chillies with Tuna & Anchovy

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

Limoncello and Linen Water

Limoncello and Linen Water

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2012

  • About

You will need wide-necked sterilised jars to accommodate these beauties. I hope you can find gorgeous round jewels of chillies, such as these. Small ones are a lovely monodose that you can just pop in your mouth, while bigger ones can be shared.

Use thin gloves when working with the chillies so your hands don’t burn for the rest of the day.

The amount of filling you’ll need will vary, depending on the size of your chillies. Mine were all different, which looks lovely in the jar. Just make up extra filling if needed, and if you have too much serve the leftovers on crostini.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz/about 50) small round red chillies
  • about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) white wine vinegar
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 400 g (14 oz) well-drained tinned tuna in oil
  • about 100 g ( oz) anchovy fillets, well drained
  • 150 g ( oz) capers in vinegar, well drained
  • olive oil, to cover the chillies in the jars

Method

Cover a couple of baking trays with clean tea towels. Rinse the chillies. Put the vinegar in a not-too-wide pot — you will need enough to just cover the chillies. Bring to the boil, then add the peppercorns and cloves, and dive in the chillies in batches so they all get a full chance in the vinegar. Let it come back to the boil and then boil for 3 or 4 minutes, but no more. Remove to the lined trays with a slotted spoon (return any peppercorns or cloves to the vinegar), then add the next batch to the vinegar and so on, until they are all done. Leave to cool.

Use a small sharp knife to cut out the hat of each chilli without piercing or removing any flesh. As you pull the hat away many of the seeds will come with it, but you will need a very small teaspoon to remove the rest of the seeds, taking special care not to break the chillies. Best to sit down and relax while you do this, with a dustbin in front of you and thin gloves on your hands. Arrange the chillies back on the tray for now. You can discard the seeds or you might like to plant them.

Put the tuna, anchovies and capers on a board and chop them well, but not completely smooth; some texture is good. You can pulse them in a food processor if you like. Mix them together to make a well-combined paste.

Now, fill the chillies. Holding a chilli in one hand (again wearing gloves), grab some of the paste and stuff it into the belly of the chilli, pressing down well with your fingers so it is tight and firmly packed, nearly flush. Carefully put the stuffed chillies in the jars, sitting them upright and nestled close to one another. Gently pour olive oil over them, then wait for the level to settle and add more as necessary to completely cover the chillies. You can put a plastic holder on top to keep the chillies submerged.

The chillies will need a few weeks in the jar before serving for the flavours to mix well. The jars can be kept on a shelf in the pantry until opened, then put them in the fridge. The oil will congeal but it needs just a short while at room temperature to return to its glossy old self.