Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Homemade Ketchup

Posted by manÜ

4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

1 cinnamon stick (3-inches long)

One 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes with their juice

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Special Equipment: Cheesecloth

Using kitchen twine, tie the cloves, allspice, celery seed, chile flakes, and cinnamon stick together in a medium square of doubled-up cheesecloth. (You just made a bouquet garni!)

In a large, heavy pot, add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, optional jalapeno, salt, vinegar, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions and peppers are very soft, about 1 hour.

Remove and discard the secret spice bundle. Let the mixture cool slightly, then puree in batches in a blender or food processor. (Be careful pureeing hot liquids! Don’t fill the blender too full.)

At this point, if the mixture is too pulpy for your taste, pass the liquid through a sieve, pushing as much of the solids through with a rubber spatula as you can. If you prefer your ketchup a little more rustic and a little less smooth, you can skip this step.

Return to your pot and cook over medium heat, stirring to keep from scorching, until the mixture has thickened and darkened slightly in color, about 30 minutes. (If the mixture starts to scorch, turn down the heat a bit.)

Transfer to a container (a glass jar is preferable) and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Your delicious homemade ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

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