3 weeks ago
Monday, August 31, 2009
The Ultimate Burger Project - Ketchup
Here we are at the ketchup stage of the Burger Project. I love ketchup. So much in fact that as a child, my family would ask if I wanted fries with my ketchup. Heinz is great and with this project I am out to prove that I can do it better. So were do I start?
Tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. I was able to get paste tomatoes locally grown at a great price. The recipe I selected calls for 1 gallon of tomato puree so after getting a bit of advice I received a 12# box.
This really was a quick project with the exception of the blanche, water-bath, peel process. I peeled and peeled and peeled....
And finally I was done. All of the tomatoes went into a 7 quart stockpot (it was really full). I let it slowly cook until the tomatoes were soft before grinding them. I could have used canned tomato puree and might actually do that this winter. For the burger project, however, I wanted it to be as "scratch" as possible. Besides, wouldn't it really be cheating to not use fresh tomatoes - especially in August!
Another cheesecloth bag of spices. I like to use the cheesecloth from Williams-Sonoma - and no it's not a sales pitch and I'm not on commission. It's such great quality it's worth it to wash with kitchen linens and air dry so you can use it again.
A few other ingredients and it all went back into the pot - again. Rather than use fresh red chili peppers, I used half the amount of dried pasillas. I'd love to make a batch and used a smoked, dried pepper - that would be a good ketchup.
Let it cook down until it "mounds" on the spoon. I am not altogether sure what that means exactly but when it looked like I though mounding would look, I pulled it from the heat.
Back through the food mill once more.
I realized too late that the recipe I chose suggested a 4 to 5 week curing process to let the flavors meld. 4-5 weeks ago, I couldn't get my hands on any tomatoes and I really wanted to make this recipe so I forged ahead. As the count down to Labor Day draws near, my ketchup will have just over a week to "cook". We'll use it anyway and crack open a jar in 4-5 weeks to compare the two. Really though, how bad can homemade ketchup be?
adapted from The Joy of Pickling
1 gallon tomato puree
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup dried chilis, remove membranes and seeds for less heat
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cider vinegar
1 T. pickling salt
1 bay leaf, crumbled
2 T. coriander seeds
1 T. yellow mustard seeds
1 T. black peppercorns
1 T. allspice berries
1 3" cinnamon stick, broken
1/4 cup white sugar
1 /2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
In a large nonreatice pot, combine the tomato puree, onions, chili peppers, garlic, vinegar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Add to the pot, the spices, tied in cheesecloth, and the sugars. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thickened.
Sqeeze the spice bag to extract all its' flavors and remove. Puree the mixture in a food mill, using a fine disc, or press the mixture through a fine sieve.
Return the mixture to the pot. Bring to a boil again, and continue to boil it, stirring constantly, until it mounds slightly on the spoon.
Ladel the ketchup into pint jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Close the jars with hot 2-piece caps and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least one month before using.