This Home-made Branston Pickle recipe produces a result that is a very passable imitation of a tangy condiment long popular in the Britain.
Anyone who grew up in the UK will know Branston Pickle very well, but in North America it is still not widely known and not always available. I recall that, for years, this condiment that I had always enjoyed as a child in England, was all but impossible to locate and I decided try my hand at reproducing it after noticing that the flavor profile was similar in many ways to the famous, and readily available HP Sauce.
Above are two commercially available Branston Pickle. The jar on the left is essentially the same as the one I recall from the UK way back in the day, while the one on the left is currently available in my local supermarket here in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The label indicates ‘Original Pickle’, and this is because the company now puts out several different variations, including one with chili, and one with ‘small chunks’. These are also available in my local supermarket but I haven’t tried any of these new ones as yet.
In any event, the basic ingredient list for the commercial pickle is described, courtesy of Wikipedia, as ‘a variety of diced vegetables, including swede, carrots, onions, cauliflower and gherkins pickled in a sauce made from vinegar, tomato, apple and dates with spices such as mustard, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and cayenne pepper with sugar’. The ‘swede’ in the listing is, by the way, better known in Canada and the US as, ‘Rutabaga’.
My recipe is considerably simpler…
As you can see in the Recipe Card below, the only two substantial ingredients in this pickle are Daikon radish and onion. The flavoring ingredients are reduced to HP Sauce, supplemented with additional vinegar and sugar to produce the same tangy sweetness of the original product.
Here is the onion… You don’t need to be a fanatic about it, but try to get the chunks in ¾ cm. pieces, or as close as possible to the same size as the daikon cubes.
The first step is to toss the daikon with salt and leave it to macerate for about 25 minutes or so. Afterwards, rinse the cubes well in several washings of cold water and then drain dry.
Now, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over moderate heat and briefly saute the onion just until it becomes translucent.
Add the daikon, along with the sugar and vinegar and cook at a low boil until the liquid reduces somewhat and the daikon is turning translucent. The idea here is to let the daikon soften a little but still retain some al dente ‘bite’.
Lastly, add the HP Sauce and turn up the heat to a pretty vigorous boil and reduce the pickling sauce to a thick, syrupy glaze. Allow it to cool and the transfer to a suitable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
As with the original, this Home-made Branston Pickle is lovely on sandwiches (the English favor Cheese and Pickle Sandwiches), with cold-cuts, and especially with cold meat pie.
Your Recipe Card:
Home-made Branston Pickle
- 2 ½ cups Daikon in ¾ cm. dice;
- 1 cup Onion moderately coarsely chopped;
- 1 Tbsp. Salt;
- 1 cup White Vinegar;
- 1/3 cup Sugar;
- 1 cup HP Sauce.
- Chop the onion coarsely into small pieces roughly ¾ cm in greatest dimension.
- Macerate the daikon with the salt for about thirty minutes, then rind and squeeze it dry.
- Pan-fry the onion in a little oil over moderate heat until just translucent then add the sugar and vinegar.
- Simmer until the daikon is just turning translucent but remains crisp-tender.
- Turn the heat to high, add the HP Sauce and reduce the sauce to a fairly syrup glaze.
- Cool and transfer to a suitable container. Refrigerate until needed.