Monday, January 6, 2014

Spicy Ketchup

If you were to look in the fridges of your friends and family members today, I'm sure you would find one constant - a bottle of ketchup. Whether it's tucked away in the back corner of the icebox behind the organic juice, sprouts and tempeh, brought out only for the occasional summer BBQ, or (like us) you have 3 different types of the stuff crammed into the door shelf because they're used at every meal, ketchup is one of those "great equalizer" foods.

Spicy KetchupThat said, the condiment is not necessarily the beacon of nutrition. Yes, it is made from vegetables (and some people would believe it is a vegetable itself), but most bottled ketchup is a red-tinted sugar bomb - with the most famous label still utilizing both HFCS and regular corn syrup in it's standard formula. Don't get me wrong - I love me some ketchup on my fries or a veggie burger, but in recent years I've steered towards the European brands that are far more on the savoury, spiced side. Over the summer, I happened to read The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila and found her recipe for real, homemade ketchup exactly when we were facing our largest glut of tomatoes from the garden. I took her basic recipe and played a bit with the spices to come up with something unique, flavour packed and even a touch exotic. Probably the most unusual spice in the mix was ground sumac, which added a punch of lemon-like tang without the bitterness cooked juice has, and played extremely well with the more common paprika, coriander and celery seed.

We tucked into a small jar right away, and I canned the rest for a time like now, where there is no sign of warmth in sight and we need a taste of Summer! The mixture is stellar on the standard stuff - fries and the like - but use it on top of meatloaf, mix into meatballs or even fold into leftover rice with a knob of butter for a fast side dish my sister absolutely adores (she puts ketchup on everything, so knows her stuff!). It's even a great dipper for breadsticks a la the Italian restaurants - don't knock it till you've tried it!

Spicy Ketchup
Makes 5 cups, 40 (2-tbsp) servings
1 tbsp olive oil or camelina oil
1 large red onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 lbs tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
½ tbsp celery seed
½ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground sumac
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion.
  2. Cook 3-5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, salt, paprika, nutmeg, cloves, celery seed, coriander, cumin, mustard powder, turmeric, sumac and pepper.
  5. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  6. Pass through a fine food mill into a clean pot.
  7. Stir in vinegars, brown sugar, and honey or agave.
  8. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until thick (about 1 hour). Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Can in a waterbath for 30 minutes.
  • Fridge in a covered container for 2 weeks.
  • Freezer in a freezer-safe container for 6 months (thaw in refrigerator and whisk to re-emulsify).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 23.9
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 90.5 mg
Total Carbs: 5.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 0.7 g

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