My mouth is burning, my top lip is rather numb and I have a feeling of deep regret, at least I hope it’s only regret. So maybe having a heaping spoonful of the freshly made hot sauce wasn’t the best choice I’ve made in a while but hey we live and we learn right. Speaking of learning I am going to share how to make a pretty killer pepper sauce. Now it’s important to note this isn’t the thin stuff you squirt out of a little bottle. This is thick with strong flavors of roasted peppers and the consistency is more like that of a thin marinara than your usual watery choice. Also I would like to point out that this recipe is not formulated to be canned and stored. It’s really thrown into a jar and placed into the fridge where it will last roughly 3 weeks. Credit for the recipe on which these are based goes to the book “jam it, pickle it, cure it” by Karen Solomon. At the end of this article there will be a link to where you may purchase the book. I highly recommend it for the variety and quality of the recipes.
Ok here we are, paragraph two. Now it’s time to get into the details. Before you start make sure you have everything you need. We’ll be going over this for everything I show how to make here and this one happens to be the easiest. You need a knife, blender, large bowl, plastic wrap and some kind of grill or gas oven to char your peppers. You may also want to wear glooves unless you have the incredible self control needed to wash your hands 30 times and still avoid rubbing your eyes, or for some of you picking your nose. Nothing out of the ordinary there so let’s get started.
First things first decide what kind of sauce you want to make. Do you want it mild, no heat or do you want to make grown men cry? I couldn’t decide so for this round I made two separate sauces. The first is a no heat, tons of flavor, sweet pepper sauce. This sauce is great thrown on a burger in place of ketchup, on a slice of fresh baked bread, or even pairs it with a nice strong cheese like a Pecorino Romano. When making a sauce like this you should really know your peppers or take the time to read the chart at your local grocery store. If you are doing this when the peppers are in season than go to your local farmers market and speak to the folks selling them and they will clue you in to the different heat levels and flavors.
To make the zero heat sauce I am making you will need the following:
1 ¾ cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons sugar
2 pounds of mini sweet peppers (Usually sold in a pack of mixed red, yellow and orange peppers)
2 large green Cubanelle peppers, these are also sometimes labeled Italian Sweet peppers
5 or more cloves of garlic minced depending on who you may or may not want to kiss later
We have our tools, we have our intentions, and we have our ingredients. Now it’s time to nap. I mean get going. Well you could nap, my sauce is done so it doesn’t matter to me. Go ahead, the rest of us will wait. *whistles a little tune*………you’re back? Good. What you want to do is rinse off all of your peppers with hot water and give them a quick check like you would any veggie to make sure none are rotten. Take each pepper and cut off the stem, slice them in half, and remove the seeds if desired. Now place them cut side down on a cookie sheet if you are going to be using the broiler method to roast them (I do not use oil for this method). Otherwise use vegetable or olive oil and brush the outside of the pepper before placing them skin side down on the grill. If you are using the broiler slide the tray into the oven and watch them. You want the skin to blacken in spots and start to blister. You may have to rotate your tray once to make sure all of your peppers get roasted. If you are grilling them then look for the same effect, remove from the heat when blackened and continue to the next step. Regardless of how you got here you now want to take your roasted peppers, while they are still hot, and place them in a bowl and cover it quickly with plastic wrap. Leave them to steam for roughly five minutes. Once the time is up remove them one at a time and remove the skin which should now slide off easily. There are two reasons really for doing this. The first reason is you don’t want a burnt or bitter taste to overwhelm your sauce. The second reason serves a purely aesthetic purpose. One or two little random flecks of black let’s someone know you made this at home but too much just takes away from the gorgeous color you will get from your peppers when the sauce is done.
Now comes the fun part. Place all of your ingredients into the blender, peppers first so you aren’t splashing vinegar all over the place. Now pulse the blender a couple times before throwing that baby into high gear. Make a few grunting sounds and watch it all come together. Once everything appears to be pulverized into tiny little bits you’re done. Sit back for a second, look at the container, marvel at what you did to those snobby little peppers. They thought they were so great with their bright colors and fresh taste. Throw your sauce in a jar, put it into the fridge and it should last about three weeks.
Below I am listing the ingredients for the hot version I made. The process is the same as above with the exception of roasting the Serrano Pepper. To roast the Serrano cut off the stem and insert a metal skewer. This will allow you to hold the pepper over the flame and roast it without roasting the life out of the chili. Once roasted drop in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap as before and then peel. I opted to leave the seeds in since I was going for a hotter flavor but you may remove them now if you wish.
For those who like it hot:
1 pound Jalapeno Peppers
¼ pound Serrano Peppers
¾-1 pound Poblano Peppers
2 cups vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons sugar
5 or more cloves of garlic minced
Ok now go forth and leave the world of watery hot sauce behind. Later this week we will begin our first foray into canning so be sure to check back. Also be sure to like us on Facebook by heading to www.facebook.com/noroomforseconds