Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Make Homemade Hot Sauce (Easier Than You Think)

For the longest time, I couldn't find organic hot sauce. Then, late last year, I noticed that Hawthorne Valley Farm was selling 5-oz. bottles of organic hot sauce (right, in photo) at the farmers' market. I was in business, especially because it was really good.

I've also been threatening to make my own hot sauce for about five years, which is when I tore a recipe for Louisiana-style hot sauce out of a magazine. (I have no idea which magazine, but Dave De Witt was the author.)

Peppers are currently in season, so I figured now was the time for action, especially because Keith's Organic Farm has been selling beautiful Hot Portugal peppers the past several weeks. I bought 15 for $0.40 each ($6.00), which turned out to be economical since the recipe yielded almost three times more than a $5 bottle from Hawthorne. And, if I may say so myself, my hot sauce was just as good—if not better—than Hawthorne's.

While I didn't follow De Witt's recipe exactly, I was surprised at how easy it is to make hot sauce, which seems to be the case with almost everything I attempt for the first time. If you do try this, any type of hot pepper will work.

Here's how I did it:

I put a wire rack on a baking sheet and put the peppers on the wire rack. I turned on the broiler in my oven and let the peppers char under the broiler, turning occasionally. After the peppers were sufficiently charred, I put the peppers in a bowl, which I covered with plastic wrap. This allowed the peppers to cool slightly and the skins of the peppers to further detach from the peppers. (You can also put the peppers in a closed paper bag to cool, but you run the risk of losing the peppers' juice.)

After the peppers were cool, I peeled off and discarded the skins, keeping the peppers, seeds and any juice. I then put this collection, along with three cloves of garlic plus some salt (not too much!) and ground pepper, into a food processor. With the machine running, I slowly poured in one cup of Fleischmann's Organic White Vinegar, which facilitated pureeing. De Witt's recipe calls for the straining of this puree—he ends up with just liquid—but I decided to replicate Hawthorne's sauce and left the seeds for a thicker result (left, in photo).

My only mistake? I didn't wear gloves when peeling the peppers and my fingers were on fire for several hours. Not kidding.


Anonymous said...

A CSA delivery a couple of weeks ago included a collection of various types of hot peppers, but no poblanos. I hate to confess I looked at them for a few days and then threw them away because the only hot peppers I know what to do with are poblanos. I need hot pepper education!
But speaking of peppers, the CSA is also now included what they call "Yummy Snack Peppers", small sweet peppers, red, orange and yellow, with almost no seeds and can be eaten out of hand in two or three bites. They are selling them by the pound which is about a dozen+ for $4.00. We love them!

Chef Rob said...

If ever there is something in your CSA box that you don't know what to do with, there's a good chance cutting it up and sauteing it in olive oil, butter or another fat will get you a pretty good result. Don't forget to season with unrefined sea salt, fresh ground pepper and fresh lemon juice.

Anonymous said...

Except Hawthorne's is raw and lacto fermented with no vinegar. Not the same thing.

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