What’s Cooking at Third Coast? Giardiniera for Your Beef!

Homemade giardiniera is one piece of the puzzle to having Italian beef in your own home, on demand. Photo by Marielle Shaw Hello and welcome to a new column for us here at Third Coast Review. What's Cooking at Third Coast will be a weekly column run on Mondays (in case you're anxious for some dinner ideas as you get your week under way) and will feature recipes we've tried and liked, made up or passed down through generations in our own families. We'll give you the link to the recipes we used, some tips on how to get things rolling, and even a review of our results. All you need to do is bookmark whatever looks delicious and add it to your roster of dinner, lunch or breakfast favorites. This week, your Third Coast Cooks are Games & Tech Editor Antal Bokor and Beyond Editor Marielle Shaw, who cohabitate and cook together. We've had a goal to master all the Chicago classics you can't get out of town so that no matter where we go, we can enjoy the deliciousness of Chicago favorites and share them with out of state friends and family. We're still working on Chicago style deep dish, but we've got a pretty good beef recipe worked out. We plan on sharing that soon, but first, let's talk toppings. Giardiniera isn't complicated to make, but it does take a little bit to become the spicy, vinegary, crunchy goodness that we know and love, so it makes sense to get this rolling at least a few days before you're going to use it so it's already. We found the recipe for this on Taste of Home and went with it since it was posted by someone who'd actually been to Chicago and lived there for a while and it had won an award. We're pretty pleased with the results. It was spicy, briny and the seasonings were just right. It's a fairly simple process to put this together, and most of your time with this will be spent chopping. You'll need to break the cauliflower down into pretty small florets, and make sure everything else is of decent size to have a nice crunch without being too big to fit on a spoon with all the other veggies. Once you're done chopping, it's as simple as salting, stirring and soaking it overnight. From there, you drain and rinse, add the vinegar, and wait again- at least a day is preferable to get the flavors to marry. Then, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks of Italian beef, muffaletta or whatever else you might like to throw giardiniera on. If you follow proper canning procedures, it can last even longer. Photo by Marielle Shaw. The crunch and spice really compliment the beef, which is why we think you should never be without it. It's inexpensive to make and keeps for a good long while, so whipping up a batch of this should be a no-brainer. If you'd like to see our step-by-step photos from this recipe, click here. Otherwise, see below for the original recipe from Taste of Home's website.
  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 5 cups)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 4 serrano peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 jar (10 ounces) small pimiento-stuffed olives, drained
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, celery, carrot and peppers with salt. Add cold water to cover. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.Drain vegetables; rinse with cold water and drain again. In a large nonreactive bowl, whisk vinegar, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Add olives and drained vegetables; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight to allow flavors to blend.Transfer mixture to jars. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Yield: 8 cups.    
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Marielle Bokor