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.