Pepper Paste

Pepper paste recipe, homemade

Pepper paste is widely used in Armenian cooking. This homemade version is so much more flavorful and pure than the ones sold in jars. Whenever my mom would give me a recipe that contained tomato paste, I would ask her if I should add pepper paste. She’d say “Yes … of course” because she assumed I would already know that tomato paste and pepper paste go hand in hand. Now, I don’t even ask. Whenever she gives me a recipe that calls for tomato paste, I will add pepper paste next to it! The local produce store where I buy my red bell peppers call me “the pepper lady” because when they are in season and cheap I buy them in large quantities.

Skill level: Intermediate
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Pepper Paste
Traditional "Armenian" Recipe
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 15 pounds red bell peppers ( washed, cut into quarters, seeded )
  2. 4 tablespoons Kosher salt
  3. 2 1/2 teaspoons red pepper ( depending on how hot and spicy you'd like it to be )
  4. Water
  5. Olive oil for coating the paste in the jars
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, add 2 cups water.
  2. Add ½ the quartered bell peppers.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. (see note #1 below)
  4. Cover the lid over the peppers and cook on high heat for about 20 minutes.
  5. To prevent the bottom from sticking toss the pot with the lid on once in a while.
  6. Empty the content into a colander, cover, and leave to cool.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the peppers adding more water and salt to the pot each time.
  8. When it’s cool enough to handle the peppers, peel away as much skin as possible. (see note #3 below)
  9. In a food processor, place as much of the cooked red bell peppers as possible.
  10. Add 3/4 teaspoons red pepper with each batch in the food processor. It should taste a bit hot.
  11. Process till the bell peppers become very fine.
  12. Once the processing is complete, pour into a baking pan and bake at 250 degrees.
  13. This may take up to 3 hours on low heat.
  14. Stir once in a while until the liquid is all gone and you have the consistency of tomato paste.
  15. Empty the pepper paste into prepared jars, and top with olive oil.
  16. As an alternative you can store them in freezer safe resealable bags and store them in the freezer.
  17. Use as appetizer too, by drizzling olive oil and sprinkle with dried mint.
♣ Notes
  1. 1. You will probably do this step 3 times. Each time you add peppers to the pot, add 2 tablespoons salt and 3/4 red pepper. The amount of red pepper will depend on how hot your red pepper is, and how spicy you like it.
  2. 2. It needs to be salty so it doesn’t go bad.
  3. 3. It’s so much better to remove as much of the peel as possible.
  4. 4. Sample the pepper paste and if it is not salty enough, sprinkle a little more salt and mix. )
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