Tuesday, September 13, 2016

T-Bird Hot Sauce

     Every year I plant way too many hot peppers and every year I find myself desperate to find ways to use them up. I have bags and bags of peppers that I've dried, but those really start to take up space. I am always looking for new and exciting ways to use up lots of peppers in one go. This particular sauce certainly fits the bill, using five dozen peppers. It also uses up some tamarind concentrate that I mistakenly bought when I was shopping for tahini. For whatever reason, I'm always mixing tahini and tamarind up, which generally doesn't end well in a recipe. Though very spicy, this sauce has a wonderful deep and mellow flavor underneath from the tamarind and guajilo. This is a go-to sauce for chicken or pork dishes. It's thick enough to hold up on the barbecue or hot wings. As for the name? I used Thai peppers in the recipe. I know "bird" specifically refers to the dried pepper, but the name was too good to pass up. "T" for Thai or Tamarind and "Bird" for the alternate pepper name. I am so damned clever it hurts. As always, notes are in blue.

T-Bird Hot Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 60 Thai bird chili peppers, stemmed (cayenne or serrano can be substituted, but you may need to use less, as those peppers are generally larger)
  • 1 dried Ancho chili
  • 2 dried Guajillo chilis
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor (make sure it is a large capacity processor, at least 7 cups. 10 would be better, unless you're a fan of leaking and caustic messes. Caustic Mess would be an outstanding punk band name). Process until smooth.
  2. Transfer mixture to a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes. (If you're not planning on canning this sauce for storage, you're done. If you want to store this sauce long term, go on to the next steps)
  3. Prepare a boiling water canner and submerge 4 half pint jars (or two full pint jars) to sterilize in the boiling water. (You can be doing this while the sauce is simmering)
  4. Remove the jars and fill with the warm sauce. Leave 1/4" headspace in each jar.
  5. Seal the jars with a 2 piece lid and process in the boiling water bath for 12 minutes (If you're doing full pints, go for about 16 minutes).
  6. After 12 minutes, remove from the bath and set on a wire rack to cool. Eventually, you'll hear the satisfying "pop" that tells you the jar has sealed. If after a few hours, a jar hasn't sealed, put on a new lid and try reboiling for another 12 minutes. If it doesn't seal after that, just give up and use the sauce. It will hold for a long time in the fridge. Properly processed and sealed, the sauce is good for at least a year. As always, double check everything with the National Center for Home Food Preservation to ensure you don't poison anybody.

Good Times!