And back to the lovely country of America, we have a wonderful cheese that most don't realize was a product of genius handed down and developed in its very own beautiful farms. We are talking of the Pepper Jack cheese, which was first produced by the Mexican Franciscan friars in California. Originally thought to have been handed down by the Spanish (who in turn were taught by the Italians), this robust and sharp cheese is the perfect accompaniment for the lightest of snacks, to the more rich and delectable meals.
We bring you a Pepper Jack cheese recipe that is easy to make, and a crowd-pleaser; one that you can store and use to spruce up meals that otherwise seem to lack a punch of flavor!
● Whole Milk, 2 gallons
● Direct-Set Mesophilic Starter, 1 packet
● Liquid Rennet, ½ tsp.
● Jalapeño Peppers, as required
● Habanero Peppers, as required
● Cheese Salt, 1 tsp.
● Water Bath/Double Boiler
✿ Preparation time: 20 Minutes
✿ Cook time: 3 Hours
✿ Serves: Based on Usage
♦ Add the mesophilic starter and stir, making sure it mixes evenly. Cover and allow the milk to ripen up to a temperature of 90ºF for another half hour.
♦ Chop your peppers and add them to the milk. Make sure they are fine and no chunky bits enter the mix. Stir to make sure they are blended well.
♦ Next, add the liquid Rennet to the milk, stir gently with a down and up motion for a minute, and then cover and leave it to set at the same temperature of 90ºF for an added half hour. This time can be slightly reduced if you notice that your curd comes out with a clean break.
♦ Cut the curd into cubes of ½ or ¼ on an inch and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.
♦ Heat the curd again, this time at a 100ºF, and slowly increase this temperature by 2 degrees after a gap of every five minutes. Stir this gently to avoid matting of the curd (make sure you don't over-stir).
♦ Keep the curd at this temperature for 25-30 minutes. Let the curd then rest further for five more minutes.
♦ To check the moisture of the curd at this point, grab a few chunks, squeezing it over your sink. If they separate easily, you're on the right path!
♦ Pour out the whey next, to level the curd. Allow this to set for another 20 minutes, while keeping the temperature set at 100ºF.
♦ Line your colander with the cheesecloth and carefully drain your curd into it. Sprinkle the salt on the curd, mix, and let all the moisture drain.
♦ Make sure all the liquid is drained before pressing the cloth and tying it up. Place a 3 lb. weight to hold the cheese down and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
♦ Peel away the cheesecloth, reverse the cheese, and repeat the previous step, this time placing a 10 lb. weight over it. Leave it like this for another 12 hours.
♦ Take your cheese out and let it dry out at room temperature. This has to be left for three days to dry. During this period, turn the cheese over at least twice a day to ensure that the moisture in the cheese dries out evenly.
♦ Your very own block of Pepper Jack cheese in now ready to chow down as you please!
● Pepper Jack Cheese (Shredded), 2½ cups
● Chicken Broth, 1 can
● Bacon Bits, 2 tbsp.
● Onion (grated/finely chopped), 1
● Minced Garlic, 6 cloves
● All-purpose Flour, 2 tbsp.
● Milk, 2 cups
● Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tsp.
● Tabasco sauce, ¼ tsp.
● Ground Pepper, to taste
● Butter, ¼ cup
● Parsley Leaves, to garnish
✿ Preparation time: 20 Minutes
✿ Cook time: 10 Minutes
✿ Serves: 4
♦ Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions turn soft.
♦ Add the chicken broth, slowly whisking it in. Add the milk and do the same. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Slowly bring this down to a medium-low heat and stir occasionally to ensure that there are no lumps.
♦ Cook for 15 minutes until thick and smooth.
♦ In the meantime, add a little butter in another pan, and crisp up your bacon bits.
♦ Take your soup of the heat and quickly mix in the shredded cheese to ensure that it melts in evenly. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco, and black pepper to taste.
♦ Ladle your soup into bowls, and garnish with the bacon bits and parsley leaves.
♦ You can also add veggies of your choice (broccolis, carrots, beans, etc.) for a more healthy and rounded meal!
● Ears of Corn (off the kernel), 2 cups
● Pepper Jack Cheese (shredded), 1 cup
● Cheddar Cheese (shredded), 1 cup
● Onion (chopped), 1
● Green Onions (finely chopped), ⅓ cup
● Bacon Slices, chopped, 3
● Bell Peppers (finely diced, used red, yellow and green for added color), 3
● All-purpose Flour, ¼ cup
● Butter, 4 tbsp.
● Chicken Broth, 3 cups
● Milk or Half-and-half, 2 cups
● Bread Bowls
✿ Preparation time: 15 Minutes
✿ Cook time: 20 Minutes
✿ Serves: 12
♦ Now add the corn and cook for a further 2 minutes.
♦ Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mixture; add the broth and stir well. Let this cook and thicken for 2 to 4 minutes.
♦ Add the chicken broth and let it simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
♦ Add the cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese and stir well. Take the chowder off the heat.
♦ Add the green onions to garnish and check seasoning.
♦ Gently ladle your chowder into the bread bowls, and just like that! This divine meal is ready to serve and chow down!