Chowchow 4.000

Julia Ewan - The Washington Post

May 20, 2009

Don't let a long ingredient list deter you from making what might be the most perfect hot dog condiment. It's sweet and spicy, with acidity and texture.

Though many chowchow recipes call for canning and processing in jars, this one does not. The quantity here is small enough to be used within a few weeks' time.

Make Ahead: The vegetables need to be brined for 4 hours or up to overnight. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Servings: 4 cups
  • 4 1/3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cored, then coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cored, then coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 large green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 pound green tomato or tomatillo, cored and coarsely chopped (discard the tomatillo husk)
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 whole allspice berries, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2-inch piece peeled ginger root (1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Place 4 cups of the water in a large (3-quart) bowl or nonreactive pot. Add the salt and stir to dissolve, then add the green and red bell peppers, cabbage, onion, green tomato or tomatillo. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

Drain the vegetables in a colander, discarding the brine.

Combine the vinegar, the remaining 1/3 cup of water and the brown sugar in a large (3-quart) pot over medium-low heat, stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved. Add the smashed allspice berries, the celery seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes; mix well. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Strain; discard the solids and return the liquid to the pot.

Add the brined vegetables and increase the heat to medium so the liquid barely bubbles at the edges. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes; reduce the heat as needed. The vegetables will have softened slightly and the peppers will have faded in color a bit.

Transfer to several containers and let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 1 month).

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook," by Matt and Ted Lee (Norton, 2006).

Tested by Scott Reitz.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at