Preserved Strawberries with Chiles

Strawberry season means smoothies, short-cakes, scones, pies (with rhubarb), and preserves.  Having never tasted strawberries with chiles, I thought I would test out my curiosity only to discover that this pairing is addictively good.  Even better on toast with goat cheese.  Or toast with butter.  The small batch size means no canning or any complicated steps.   

Preserved Strawberries with Chiles
Makes about 1/2 to 3/4 cup

Adapted (only change was serving size) from Food52 

8 ounces ripe strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered if larger)
1 New Mexico chile (or ancho), or more to taste
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/4 lemon

1. Place the strawberries in a heavy, medium-size pot. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile (no soaking is required) and discard. Roughly chop or tear the remaining dried chile flesh, and add it to the strawberries. Add the sugar.

2. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil -- as the fruit begins to juice, the sugar will melt. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 1 hour. Stir every 10 minutes or so.  Taste it every now and then to make sure there's enough chile heat-- if not, add another!

3. As the preserves cook, use a spoon to lift off any scum that rises to the surface. The preserve is ready when the strawberries are shrunken and lightly candied, and the syrup has thickened but is not so thick that it's like jelly. Stir in the lemon juice and remove the pot from the heat.

4. Serve on toast or scones with butter, over ice cream and on cakes or biscuits. Refrigerate any leftover preserves.