15 February 2011


Tomato liquor

When our son was a wee tot (think 1 ½ to 2ish), he was always delighted to have french fries and ketchup, a treat we reserved for our relatively infrequent restaurant visits. For the longest time I thought it was the fat and the salt of the french fries. Until one evening I discovered him dipping his french fry into the ketchup, sucking off the ketchup, and dipping it in again. "Moh ketchup pease!"

Turns out he is a ketchup (catsup? katsup?) fanatic. This year, we made him all of his favourite things for his birthday, including a delightful version of ketchup, adapted from a friend's recipe (who in turn pinched it from The River Cottage Cookbook):
6 lb coarsely chopped tomatoes
4 onions sliced
1 dried ancho chile, halved
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
¼ tsp dry mustard
one cinnamon stick
1 ½ tsp whole allspice
1 ½ tsp whole cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp celery seeds
1 ½ tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
pinch paprika
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed into 1 tbsp water
salt to taste
Mix the tomatoes, onions and dried ancho. Simmer all of that material until soft and gooey, about an hour. Push it through a coarse sieve, add in the sugar, vinegar and mustard. Tie the other spices into a nice cheesecloth pouch.

Toss the pouch into the pot of sieved tomato bits and simmer uncovered thirty minutes to an hour. Taste periodically, removing the pouch when it is spicy enough for your tastes. Continue to simmer until thickened. If necessary, use the 1 tsp cornstarch to thicken the ketchup. Cool, and serve with your typical ketchupy items (french fries, burgers, you name it).

The depth of flavour of this ketchup makes it a considerably more interesting condiment than your standard Heinz version. And it was close enough to the standard to delight our five year-old. Tasty.


Cara said...

This post makes me realize that I never sent you the recipe for chicken nuggets. I'm guessing you figured something out :) Sorry though.

Bbq Dude said...

No problem. I winged it.

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