Red Hot Sauce with a Secret Ingredient, Carrots!

2016-1025-img_6901-bottled-hot-sauceHot sauce has a league of its own thanks to barbecue wars. Many BBQ joints – from DC to Dallas – have walls full of red sauce condiments to try. Some labels and brand names use video game graphics and flame-spitting imagery promising a burning experience. Others claim to be ethnic, touting their Caribbean or Central American origins. Yet others are hip, like the ones that hail from Brooklyn. 2016-1002-img_6905-red-hot-sauce-2-revIn a recent barbecue outing in DC, I was attracted to a Brooklyn variety for its vibrant orange color and squat bottle with a stenciled brown-paper label. The small batch sauce from A&B American Style (which stands for the names of two guys — Ariel and Brian — who quit their day jobs to found the company) stood out as fresh and delicious. The sauce provided chili after-burn without being so hot as to expunge all taste.

True to their motto, there was “just food in your food.” The secret ingredient was carrots! They provided sweetness without sugar, since A&B cautions, “Never ever add sugar, ever,” in an article I later discovered in a September 2014 article by Matt Gross in Bon Appetit online. Ha. Who knew that sugar was an antidote to the Scoville scale (the measure of spicy heat in chilis)? i2016-1002-mg_6791-ingredients-hot-sauce-2I made a batch of red hot sauce from an Emeril Lagasse recipe, which also had no sugar. Red jalapenos, abundant garlic, and onions seasoned with small amount of salt were sauteed in a little vegetable oil before being simmered in water, pureed and diluted with vinegar. The deep orange sauce was a success, but seemed a little acrid. Then I remembered the carrots and made a couple other batches, adjusting the proportions until I was happy with the result. While I was using red jalapenos since I had an abundance, I added a fruity hot red Aleppo pepper from my garden to give the chilis a little depth. It’s a winner.

Red Hot Sauce, adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Food Network 

10 oz ripe red chili peppers (about 10 jalapenos, or use serrano or tabasco)

1½ tbsp minced garlic

¾ c thinly sliced onions (yellow or red)

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp olive or other vegetable oil

2 c water

1 c 5% distilled white vinegar of good quality

Stem and partially de-seed the chili peppers, and slice them crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Combine with the garlic, onions, salt and oil in a medium saucepan and sauté for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer until the ingredients are soft and fully cooked, about 20 minutes, Set aside to cool to room temperature, at least an hour. Puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth. With the processor running, gradually add the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream. Check the seasoning and add salt to taste, if needed. If necessary, pass through the fine disk of a food mill to make it very smooth.

Spoon into sterilized bottles or jars with airtight lids and store in the refrigerator. Let the sauce age for about 2 weeks before using. It keeps for about 6 months.

Makes 2 cups

 

Garden-fresh Red Hot Sauce, inspired by A&B

10 oz ripe red chili peppers (about 10 large jalapenos)

Optional: 1-2 oz fruity hot red chili such as Aleppo or Hungarian Boldog

6 oz orange carrot, grated or thinly sliced

4 oz red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp olive or other vegetable oil

2 c water

1 c 5% distilled white vinegar of good quality

Stem and partially de-seed the chili peppers, and slice them crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Combine with the carrot, onions, garlic, salt and oil in a medium saucepan and sauté for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer until the ingredients are soft and fully cooked, about 20 minutes, Set aside to cool to room temperature, at least an hour. Puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth. With the processor running, gradually add the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream. Check the seasoning and add salt to taste, if needed. If necessary, pass through the fine disk of a food mill to make it very smooth.

Spoon into sterilized bottles or jars with airtight lids and store in the refrigerator. Let the sauce age for about 2 weeks before using. It keeps for about 6 months.

Makes about 3 cups.

Categories: Condiments, Preserving, UncategorizedTags: ,

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