I’ve never been very good at following recipes exactly as they are written. I remember a few arguments that originated when my ‘dashes of this’ and my ‘pinches of that’ resulted in wasting half of a gallon of milk or having my father watch incredulously as I told him that I didn’t have a gnocchi recipe per se, but that I knew just about how much flour to add to get a light, fluffy dough and not a lead bullet coated in pesto.
I also don’t let it get in my way if my breadstick dough is a little too sticky on that rare occasion I am trying to follow the recipe. I just add a little more until it has reached a dough-like consistency. I can really only think of a handful of times where I have been negatively surprised.
And I think it’s part of what makes me a pretty decent cook. I live in the moment and I like to see where my mood, the food, and my cravings are taking me. If I search for a recipe online, most of the time it is for a foundation that I can build on and adapt.
Sometimes it’s because I don’t have the right ingredients in my kitchen, but other times it’s because I taste the sauce and think it’s going towards the sweet side or because I’ve wandered down to the local park and nabbed a few fresh sprigs of rosemary (Shhh…I’ve always been conflicted of doing things like this…although I would never do what I’ve seen certain people do and snip off an entire bunch of chives or something. I keep my herb nabbing to the things that grow rapidly and everywhere. FYI, if I saw rosemary growing in China, I would not take any because it seems too rare here! So rare that I haven’t seen any unfortunately for the locals.)and want that burst of flavor only fresh can deliver.
Anyway, this recipe originated by looking at Joy the Baker’s and Jamie Oliver’s sites to compare ketchup recipes.
I thought Joy the Baker’s seemed a wee bit easier and looked to her for the amounts of tomato and spices I would be using. Then I changed all of the spices and the vinegar type and ended up with this beaut of a condiment.
The great thing about such an easy recipe is that you can modify it to your taste buds without fearing that you’ll be creating nasty glop.
I have been craving chipotle ketchup since my onion ring recipe in August. So, I went there. I also added star anise. Now, the very licorice-y smell to this spice might persuade some to put it down or throw out the packet, but believe me that the taste that will linger through your food is not at all aggressive. I rather enjoy it in anything from meat, to soup and now ketchup!
So, put on an apron and/or be very careful for tomato spills. Don’t forget to start slicing some potatoes or enlist a loved one to make fancy burgers. A sauce that packs this much punch should be applied liberally to any of your slightly more elevated, traditional American greasy spoon fare.
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive, vegetable, whatever you have on hand will do)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½-¾ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar (I used rice, but cider vinegar would do nicely)
- Add the oil to your pot and then brown your onions 5-6 minutes on medium-high or until translucent. Add in your garlic and brown for another minute or so before adding the rest of your spices (chipotle, cumin, anise, salt and mustard) and the tomato paste.
- Lower the heat and stir for a minute.
- Then pour in your can of diced tomatoes and add the vinegar.
- Let everything simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the ketchup has thickened a bit. I let most of the water evaporate, but I think leaving just a little would result in a slightly thinner consistency, in my mind perfect for dipping fries or drizzling over hash browns.
- Let it cool for 15 minutes and then blend it all until it is nice and smooth. You can strain the tomatoes out, or you can pile a few heaping spoons into a small bowl so it cools quicker and is ready to fulfill its duty when those burgers and fries are ready. You can put the rest of the mixture into canning jars or old ketchup bottles and store in your refrigerator for up to one month.
- I used ¾ teaspoon chipotle and it packed quite the punch. If you don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy your ketchup like that I strongly suggest you reduce it by ¼ teaspoon. Also, it will seem spicier while it’s still hot, you I would start out with less than you think you might like and gradually add it to your ketchup.
This recipe was inspired by Joy a Joy the Baker and her Homemade Curry Ketchup.