I am not talking Tabasco-style hot sauce – tho’ this does have just a bit of a nip.
And I am not talking about Asian-style chili sauces; sweet Thai or Sriracha or some other.
Nope, all those and more are in my fridge, but sometimes, you just need a good, basic chili sauce made from good basic ingredients for… stuff.
Enter Erma J. Fisk. She wrote this book way back in 1987 called “A Birdwatcher’s Cookbook” that is not your typical cookbook. Narrative-heavy, almost a novel with recipes, it’s a great read whether you’re into birding or not.
Anyway, Ms. Fisk included this recipe for her chili sauce, which she always kept in a jar in the fridge:
Simmer until thick enough.
I needed a bit more information, and a few decades more experience before I could truly begin to appreciate this recipe and the freedom it gives to improvise and make do with what you have.
I used diced, canned plum tomatoes, so did not add a lot of salt; and because I used white, malt, and red wine vinegars, I may have needed to up the sugar by a bit (see below). Here’s how I ended up with about 18 half-pints of One. Fine. Chili Sauce in my pantry. Try this on eggs or in stews or – my main reason for making this, and the reason it has just a bit of a nip – use this as the base Wicked Good Cocktail Sauce – combine some chili sauce with prepared horseradish and more fresh lemon juice than you’d think to taste. Yum.
•3 large cans (84 oz total) diced tomatoes
•1 red onion, chopped
•1 sweet onion, chopped
•8 cups sweet peppers, diced
•2 jalapeños, chopped, 1 with seeds removed
•4 cups celery, diced
•1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup
•3 tbsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 tsp allpsice
•1/2 tsp ground cloves
•1 tsp celery seed
•1/2 tsp Tellicherry pepper
•2 cups white vinegar
•1 cup malt vinegar
•1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Add the tomatoes, onion, sweet and jalapeño peppers, and celery together in a stock pot with the salt and 1/2 cup of sugar.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Add the vinegars and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. Give the sauce a good whizzz with an immersion blender until it is as chunky-smooth as you like, then give it a taste.
Wow! Wicked vinegar-y!
Another taste, another 1/4 cup of sugar and another 10 minutes simmering.
Much more better.
Ladle the hot chili sauce into prepared canning jars and process in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. If you don’t have one, pick up Ball’s Blue Book – a great how-to guide for the basics of canning.
Set the jars aside to cool, check for seal and enjoy your chili sauce!
Ermmm, or, you could get on my Holiday food gifts list…