Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Chili Pepper Sauce - 3 Ways
Turns out, peppers like neglect. Several months ago, we wrapped up the summer garden and sort of ignored everything for a few weeks. Lo and behold, a trip around the garden revealed that apparently, we had been over watering the peppers, because once they dried out from our neglect, they flourished. We had five pepper plants overflowing with chilis -jalapeno, fresno, serrano, thai dragon, and a bell pepper that had cross pollinated with the others into the hottest bell pepper you've ever tasted.
At the same time, I ran across a recipe on Mark Bittman's blog that I was excited to make and would use up all of the peppers.
Because we had several varieties of chilis and they were at different levels of ripeness, I ended up make three different styles of sauce. The red one is a mix of four different chilis - jalapeno, fresno, serrano, thai dragon - all picked when ripe red. The lighter green sauce is a mix of the same four chilis picked when still green, and the darker green sauce is a mix of fire roasted bell pepper, jalepeno and fresno chilis (cooked on the grill, skinned, and seeded) with a few fresh serranos tossed in for heat.
The chilis are blended with salt and white vinegar, boiled for about ten minutes and cooled for three days on the counter. They can then be kept in the fridge indefinitely.
Each sauce has a unique flavor and they are all amazing. The red sauce is a very classic chili sauce that adds nice heat with a bit of sweetness. The light green sauce is similar but more floral than sweet, and the roasted sauce is not as hot, but has an amazing depth of flavor - smoky and rich.
There are no exacts in this "recipe"; it's really more of a method.
Chili Pepper Sauce
A mix of fresh chilis - as much as you have - stemmed, and seeded if you want, but it doesn't make a big difference.
Put the stemmed chilies in a blend, add a handful of salt, eyeball it, but make sure it's at least several tablespoons, even a 1/4 cup or so.
Add white vinegar until the chilies are fully submerged.
Blend well, pulsing on and off until well mixed and blended.
Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Cook for about 10 minutes.
Cool a bit and decant to jars.
Cover with a towel and let sit for three days.
The vinegar will separate from the bulk of the pepper sauce. It will rise to the top. Pour off the majority of this peppery vinegar and reserve for other uses.
Cover jars with lids and put in fridge.
NOTE: While blending and cooking the sauce, don't inhale the fumes, and try to work in a well-ventilated area. This stuff is pretty powerful and will linger in the air for some time.
Use on eggs, chicken, fish etc. Anything really. You're going to find yourself scrambling eggs just as an excuse to eat more pepper sauce!