Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash

Maybe 12 years ago, I asked my grandmother for a recipe because I wanted to start cooking. She provided me with the following 3x5  card along with a litany of advice I didn't understand.

I had enjoyed her Chicken Paprikash in the past, but my attempt to recreate it consistently fell short of expectations. This was not a huge surprise as my grandmother has always been a fantastic cook and my skills had previously topped out with a mediocre preparation of Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese.

Well, as time has passed and I have spent more time educating myself, my thoughts have often returned to that dish. With a foot of snow on the ground, temps below zero, and a roaster in the fridge, it seemed like high time to give Chicken Paprikash another go.

So, I did.

I started with Grandma Dorothy's recipe, again. I suspect this recipe comes from a 1950's women's magazine for a few reasons- not the least of which it calls for me to brown yellow onions in shortening. I am not a terribly religious person, but this particular instruction presented me with a moral line I just could not cross. And I know from some experience with some of my grandmother's other recipes, my Grandma Dorothy used these recipes as rough parameters rather strict instruction. So I decided to research a bit on the interwebs. I read some Martha Stewart and some Saveur, found some amateur blogs and then rounded that out with some ideas from Chris Kimball and the girls. Then ultimately, I made some changes of my own volition- maybe because I am presently obsessed with shallots.


1 fat roaster chicken (broken into 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast cutlets)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup sweet paprika (A LOT more than Grandma Dorothy ever tolerated)
2 tablespoons AP flour
cups chicken broth (or see Steps 1 and 2 for some stock)
¾ cup sour cream (or see Step #, if it is 10 below zero and you realize you have to make your own)

The first couple of steps are not entirely necessary under normal conditions. But with Ann Arbor a deadly snowy hellscape, there was no way I was going out to get chicken stock. With the opportunity available, I decided to try a dark chicken stock, which I hoped would ultimately give the sauce a little more body.

Step 1:

Separate bones from the carcass and place in a single layer in a roasting container. Brush bones with tomato paste and place in the oven preheated to 350 for 1.5-2 hours (being careful to deeply brown the bones and remaining meat but not to burn so as to avoid the stock becoming bitter and acrid).

Step 2:

Removed the roasted bones and add to an empty stock pan. Add cold water to cover. Place on medium low heat. Add bones to simmering water with peppercorns, celery, carrots, 1/2 onion, and bay leaf for 4-6 hours skimming fat as necessary. Strain and reserve stock.

Step 3:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. In a bowl, whisk 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. salt. Form a well in the center. Add egg and ½ cup water to the well. Stir to form a dough. Knead in bowl until smooth (10ish minutes). Pinch walnut-size portions from the dough ball and delicately play into the pot. Boil dumplings until tender, 6–8 minutes (let them float for a bit). Drain dumplings and rinse in cold water; cover with a tea towel and set aside.

Step 4:

Dredge chicken lightly in flour. In a dutch oven on medium high heat, brown the chicken in oil. When browned, remove chicken from dutch oven and set aside.

Step 5:

Pour off all but about a tablespoon of the rendered schmaltz. Add minced shallots to the dutch oven and lightly brown. When shallots are lightly browned, stir in garlic, tomato paste, paprika,(optional chili flakes to taste), and flour to make a roux. Cook until fragrant and until the flour is slightly darker than blonde (about 1 minute). Slowly stir in stock (being careful to also de-glaze the fond from the bottom of the pot) and bring to a low simmer.

Step 6: Reduce heat to a very low simmer and add chicken, nestling the chicken in the sauce so as to allow for maximum coverage. Slowly braise chicken to internal temp of 160.

Step 7: This is totally optional, but I was pretty happy with the results. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to a cup of heavy cream. Whisk vigorously until cream thickens and then fold in a good pinch of kosher salt. This is probably not worth the effort normally, but as noted above Ann Arbor was about 2 degrees Kelvin and my fridge was devoid of sour cream. This quick fix gave the sauce what it needed, but also provided a nice, light way to enrich the sauce.

Step 8: Brown butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add dumplings and chopped, flat leaf parsley. Toss until browned, fragrant, and awesome.

Step 9: Remove dutch oven from heat and add in dumplings. Stir in sour cream until incorporated and season with salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Plate with the dumplings and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Diagnosis? Delicious!

This has a dominant, but nice sweet paprika taste with its slight bitterness offset by the tomato paste. The rendered schmaltz gave the sauce a nice velvety sheen without making it too heavy. Next time, I may do a lighter dumpling (as my grandmother always did). I am very pleased with the overall results, except that it is missing that illusive grandma characteristic. But I suppose that is to be expected.

I'd love to hear any comments and/or suggestions.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hickory-Smoked Chicken Wings

Blimp shot
Hickory-Smoked Chicken Wings and Stilton Potato Skins with Maple-Bourbon Craft Bacon

The name is long, so you know it is good.

Memorial Day weekend seemed like as good a time as any to test out some recipes for tailgate season. I found some good-looking wings at the local butcher. Mariah and I trimmed them with a boning knife and some sheers (discarding the useless tips) and I put them in 5% brine with a couple cloves are thinly sliced garlic, some sweet paprika and a few sprigs of rosemary.

I let that go overnight removed and rinsed it thoroughly before I pat dried and applied my dry rub.

My rub was typical for my treatment of chicken:

Sweet Paprika
Brown Sugar
Onion Powder
Chipotle Powder
White Pepper
Celery Seed
Herbs De Provence

Ambient temperature was over 90 degrees, so I dumped about 15 unlit coals in the pan and lit a half-full chimney. I filled the water pan and got the temperature to a nice and easy 225. I got the hickory rolling and gave the wings 4 hours on the smoke.

After 4 hours on 225 (and lower), the internal temp varied from wing to wing between 135 and 150. I pulled the wings and placed into an insulated container.
Add caption
I lightly basted the wings with some Olive Oil and cooked at 350 until the internal temp reached 170.

In the meantime, I washed and dried 6 russet potatoes. Once they were dry, I tossed them in olive oil and liberally sprinkled them with kosher salt. I put them into the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 1 hour (until the potatoes give a little if you apply pressure).

Allow the potatoes to cool until they can be handled. Cut them in half and scoop out the meat leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on top of the skins.

Sum bitch...
Raise the oven temp to 450. While the oven is preheating, coat the potato skins with a vegetable oil (high smoke point). Cook for ten minutes, then flip for another ten. Remove and lower the temp to 400.

Then the magic happens. I sprinkled with crumbled Stilton cheese and some diced Maple-Bourbon craft bacon.

I put it back in the oven until the cheese started to brown (about 4 minutes on the middle rack).

Then you basically get this:

Feed me, Seymore!
I added a dollop of Greek Yogurt and some diced green onions from Mariah's freaky Frankenstein green onion reboot.

Mariah put together her amazing Bouron-Coriander BBBQ sauce (the extra B is for BYOBB). I'll ask Mariah for a post on that in the future. It is a warm, tangy and spicy citrus flavor. Top drawer.

Beware tailgate brat-bringers, burger-bakers. There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Hickory. These wings were pink from smoke, but the mild hickory was a perfect flavor to match the rub. The brine kept the meat moist and the low and slow method kept them tender but not fatty. Mariah said the meat was like pork, but not as rich- that sounds like a nice compliment.

The skins were tremendous. The bacon was transcendent as expected and the Stilton added a nice salty funk to the crispy, starchy skins. The greek yogurt is perfect as an accent- I will never use sour cream again. It is more viscous and not as rich, but with a more pronounced sour taste. Perfect. And I only use zombie green onions grown in shot glasses. That is how it is done. :)

Hail to the Victors Valiant!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hickory-Smoked Maple Herb BACON

Are you performing CPR on a dying patient? Are you recording the life story and charming anecdotes of your beloved but infirmed 90 year old aunt? Perhaps you are putting the finishing touches on that cancer cure? No? This is not the case?

The you should probably drop what you are doing and make some bacon.

I have enjoyed and shared some culinary adventures, some have been wins (see fish, smoked) some have been learning experiences (see pork belly, roasted), but when you look at the value of craft bacon- there is no comparison.


and good.

So I was in the HOUSE OF MEATS! which is basically the independent butcher at Anderson's (grocer) in Toledo. I was looking for a flat iron steak and was met with blank looks. "Top Blade Steak?" I asked but to no avail. Fortunately, I was directed to the on-duty butcher who I assumed was in no mood to tolerate me in the middle of a busy Saturday.

But I was wrong. He asked me the size i wanted and I told him I wanted one to smoke. The man delivered a nice 5 lber.

My interest was piqued.

"Do you guys have any pork belly"

They ordered me ten pounds of fresh pork belly.

The recipe:

Modified from a recipe by my guru:

2 ounces kosher salt
2 teaspoons pink curing salt (don't feel like ordering online?)
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 maple syrup
5 cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed 
5-10 sprigs of sage
5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme 
1/4 cup bourbon
3 sprigs rosemary

I did two 5 lb slabs. One had bourbon and rosemary and the other didn't. Both were transcendent.

Basically, you spread the cure over the meat and put each 5 lb slab into a two gallon ziplock. 

Then you flip every other day to ensure that the meat has contact with the flavorful brine created during the curing process. 

On day 4, open the bags and redistribute the cure. 

On day 7, the meat should be uniformly firm and ready for smoking.

Smoking day:

Allow you pork belly to air dry and to reach room temperature.

My ambient temperature was over 80 degrees (but not humid) so I loaded my chimney to about 2/3 full and lit. I poured about unlit 15 briquets into the pan as an homage to the Minion method. 

I was aiming for no water in the pan, but I wanted to maintain a temp of 200 and found myself doing more work and less beer, so i added a 24 ounces of water to the pan from a discarded bottle of Dos Exis. This regulated the temperature.

I used hickory because i love it with pork, but i think i will use a milder apple next time. I gave the belly about 4 hours on smoke until the internal temp of the belly reached 150.

Then, my friends- you have BACON.

Mariah made some delicious biscuits (post to follow) and we began the process of enjoying and distributing said bacon. If you, as I had, never experienced craft bacon- DO IT IMMEDIATELY. It is like a cross between store bacon and corned beef. It is flavorful and rich and complex. If you don't make it immediately you a just a fool.

A DAMN fool.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Umami's Earth Burger + Baked Sweet Potato Fries

A Guest post from John of Those Darn Vegetarians:

Nine months after I married Bacon...
As was previously established, I have a problem when it comes to burgers.  I love them...  I mean, not enough to marry them (it's not like they're bacon)...  but I did like them so much that I was certain that they were the only delicious meaty food I would miss once I became a vegetarian (please note: I was wrong).

However, I wanted to give this vegetarian thing a fair shake so I set my sights on creating a delicious meat-free patty..  after all, I live in a big city and I know about things and I have been known to enjoy a spicy black bean burger from Chili's every now and again.  Besides, I reasoned, if I slathered enough ketchup and mayonnaise on anything in between a bun, it would kind of taste like a hamburger.  Right?

Chickpea Willy is...  pleased.
The first burgers I attempted were almost completely chickpea based.  The results were mixed.  I had my favorites.  I created a smoked jalapeno patty that turned out to be delicious.  Most of the chickpea based burgers were pretty bland though...  even with herbs, spices, and peppers, there is only so much you can do to give a chickpea flavor.  They're versatile and mooshy.  They don't really have a flavor so you can mix them with just about anything and have the meal turn out "more full of chickpeas" than had you not added them...  but overall, they left me wanting.

Then, after a trip to mecca...  er...  Umami Burger in Santa Monica, I was inspired to try to create a new type of burger...  Umami offers a traditional-style veggie burger.  However, they also offer an "Earth Burger"- which is, as far as I can tell, edamame and mushroom based.  The combination of flavors was perfect.  It was earthy and mellow and just a little salty.  And the consistency was interesting...  most veggie patties are dry- but this one was malleable...  I can't explain it other than saying, have you ever had a Jimmy John's sub sandwich?  You know how it's so full of delicious meat and toppings that if you don't squeeze the back of the sandwich shut when you take a bite, the filling will come out the back?  Yeah- it's like that.  Delicious earth burger filling all over your hands and your plate.

I won't be back until they return my shirt.
Surprisingly, it was difficult to find a recipe for their burgers online.  (I've become kind of accustomed to finding recipes for anything and everything I wanted via Google searches).  Never fear.  While I was unable to find Umami's recipe, using some ingenuity and some good-old-fashioned-sticktoitivness, I was able to find a pretty good substitute.  Local chef Dana Slatkin created a recipe that, like most recipes I've been making lately, requires two ingredients that you will need to obtain from a specialty shop or order online.  (Wholefoods might also have them...  but currently I'm fighting with them, so I haven't been inside to root around their shelves).  Because I am getting married in a few months and need to lose a few el-bees, I've modified this recipe to take out some of the fat (find the original here).  

OK.  Enough of the boraphyl.  Now what you really care about: how to make the burger and fries happen.

3 sweet potatoes
Sea salt
Olive oil cooking spray

1 small onion, sliced
1 pound assorted mushrooms (I recommend using at least two different kinds)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup white miso paste (specialty store this bad boy)
1/2 teaspoon mushroom base (and this one, too)
1/2 beet, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame beans
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 pinch salt

Baked Fries: Not as good as their deep-fried brethren.  
1.  Preheat the oven to 450.
2.  Have an assistant peel the potatoes.
3.  Cut the potatoes into wedges of equal thickness.
4.  Coat the potatoes with olive oil cooking spray and toss with salt.
5.  Spread the fries in an even layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven for 35 minutes.

1.  Spray the bottom of a saute pan with a non-stick cooking spray and place the pan on medium heat.  
2.  Add the onions, mushrooms, beet, and pinch of salt and poke with a spoon, occasionally, until browned.  (About 10 minutes).
3.  Whisk together the wine, miso paste, and mushroom base and fling that in with the mushroom/onion/beet mix.
4.  Deglaze the pan, being sure to stir up all the delicious bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
5.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the edamame beans.  Pulse, chop, and frappe until the mixture is about the consistency of ground chuck.
6.  Dump the beet pate into a bowl and have a trusty assistant mix in the bread crumbs by hand.
7.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
8.  Once the burgers are done chillin' out, maxin', and relaxin' all cool, spray the bottom of a saute pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the pan on medium-high heat.
I don't always relax all cool.  But when I do, I prefer West Philadelphia 
9.  Form the burgers into patties.
10.  Brush hoisin sauce on each side of the burgers and throw them into the hot pan and cook them until they are well charred on each side (about 3 - 4 minutes per side).

PROTIP: These patties will fall apart when you try to flip them, so be careful.

If you want to toast your buns, now's the time to do it.  Put your burgers on the buns, fix as usual, and enjoy.  I recommend making the homemade ketchup featured here.

Is Good.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Easy Artisan Bread

Dramatic bread!

Oh, Noes! Darren just told me Mr. Tate is coming over for dinner! We are out of bread and I don't have time to get to the store! What am I to do?

After many, many, many failed attempts at yeast-fueled projects, I think I am finally starting to get comfortable. Here is a simple recipe I have created and method for a basic crusty artisan bread.

In a small bowl, mix:

3 cups lukewarm water (100 degrees)
1.5 tbs dry active yeast
1.5 tbs kosher salt

 Then mix in:

3 cups bread flour
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1tbs malt barley syrup

Mix until there are no dry patches and place in a warm place covered with a tea towel. I like to set the oven to 250 and place the yeast on the range to rise. You need to check the temperature though. The range I am using ends up at about 82 degrees. You definitely don't want it to get too much hotter than that.

Then you go drink a beer or two and wait for it to double.

No....Knead to do any extra work.

It took about two hours to double. Do not punch it down. Be gentle.

Gently remove the risen dough from the bowl and place on to a flour dusted surface. Cut the dough into two parts. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another day.

Place the remaining onto a 2 foot sheet of parchment paper (or greased aluminum foil). Gently shape the dough by pulling from the top and tucking under the edges until you get a round shaped boule.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with an empty dutch oven inside. When the oven is heated, carefully pull out the oven rack. Make three slashes on the top of the boule with a sharp serrated blade and by holding the ends of the parchment paper, lower the dough into the dutch oven.

Cover the dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Then remove the lid and cook for 10 minutes to allow the top to brown. Test the temperature and remove when the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees. If the top starts to get too brown, put the lid back on. When the temp reaches 210, remove and let rest 40 minutes before slicing.

and the butter is where?

And that's it. No kneading the dough. No second rise. No fuss- no muss.

Delicious fresh bread in 3 hours.

Kansas City Style Baby Back Ribs

I was searching high and low for a nice rack of beef back ribs, but alas, it was not meant to be. I settled instead for a very good-looking rack of baby back pork ribs.

The membrane had already been removed and there was only a little excess fat and silver skin to trim. So, there wasn't a lot to the meat preparation.

If you find yourself needing to remove the membrane there is no need to panic. Simply insert a butter knife between the outer membrane and a bone about 1/4 from the end of the rack. Work the membrane loose enough that you can get a finger in. The grasp the loose membrane with a paper towel and pull.

This guy knows what's up:
He also may have narrated the Dukes of Hazard. I'm not sure.

In a step that may have been totally unnecessary, I cut that rack in half and then brined it for about 4 hours in a simple brining solution (1 Quart Water, 3.5 Ounce Kosher Salt, 1/2 Cup Honey). I have had such great success brining pork, i figured it was worth a shot.

After patting the rack dry, I liberally applied a coat of mustard. This step gives the rub something on which to adhere. Mustard is used because during the long cooking time, it loses all flavor and thus does not affect the overall taste of the ribs.

The Rub:

2 Cups Brown Sugar
2 Cups Paprika
3 Tablespoons Chipotle Pepper
Dashes of:
White Pepper
Black Pepper
Celery Seed
Cayenne Pepper

The Brown Sugar used in this rub basically starts us off in the direction of Kansas City Style Ribs. The cooking method later confirms it as such. I applied the rub and let it rest in the refrigerator over night.

And then into the smoker.

I prepped the smoker (A half chimney of coals lit with the other half in the coal pan), regulated my temperature to 225 and got the Hickory smoke rolling. I filled my water pan and put on the ribs.

The game plan for the ribs was to smoke on 225 for 3 hours, then remove from the smoker and wrap in foil with a splash of apple juice, then return the ribs to the smoker for 1 hour. After an hour in the foil, I removed the ribs from the smoker. I took the ribs out of the foil and applied a liberal base of BBQS Sauce (more on that in a few). After the base was applied, I liberally sprinkled the ribs with Turbanado Sugar and then applied another layer of sauce. Then I just cooked them until they are done.

3 Hours in the smoker- ready for the foil.

In the meantime, Mariah started the sauce.

The Sauce:

Mariah warmed olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. She added a small diced onion and sauted until the onion was limp. She then added 3 cloves crushed garlic and cooked for another minute.

Next Mariah added a 1/4 cup of Killians Irish Red because she hates me.

Sam and I took a little nap.

In a bowl, Mariah mixed: 

1 cup of Ketchup
1/4 Cup Yellow Mustard
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 Cup Champagne Vinegar
1/8 Cup Molasses
1/8 Cup Honey
2 dashes Habanero Hot Sauce
1/2 Cup brown Sugar

Then she added the wet ingredients to the warm pot and simmered for 15 minutes to marry the flavors.

I intended to give the rack only 1 hour after adding basting with the sauce, but as you know- the road to tough, dry ribs is paved with good intentions. Ribs presented an interesting challenge for me as there is no good way to accurately assess the internal temperature. 

But what's the rush?
My goal internal temperature was 185. I wanted the pork to be moist and tender, but not to pull. Tastes vary, but I prefer to have my ribs give a little resistance in the chew but leave the bone clean. The collagen in the meat starts to break down between 180 and 190, so I selected 185 to compensate for my inability to accurately measure and to keep my ribs from being a sloppy, fatty mess.

But a lot of knowing when the ribs are done is just feel. I am still learning and can't really rely on gut feelings so I need some sort visual indication. 

I inserted my remove thermometer probe into a thick part of the rib meat being careful not to hit a bone. I waited until the ribs started reading 180 at which point I graped the end two ribs on my half rack with BBQs tongs and kind of bounced them. The goal was to see therack bend and give a little (and ideally, to start to break, but with my thick crusty rub, that was difficult to see).

It took three additional hours.

But it was worth the wait:

Thank goodness for warm spring nights

The ribs had a nice wide smoke ring and were moist without being fatty and tender without being sloppy. The mustard rub gave a nice crunch to the chew and a healthy but not devastating heat. Mariah's sauce was tremendous. Tangy and sweet without being sticky. It played beautifully with the rub.

Based on a simple google search, there are as many method for creating ribs as there are people cooking ribs. I think the idea is to read and research how people accomplish ribs that fit their tastes and then borrow and combine do create ribs that strike your fancy.

Kansas City Style ribs are distinguished as such due to the Brown Sugar in the Rub, the application of the mustard and most importantly the sauce basting of the ribs in the final cooking stage.

Memphis Style is a dry rub, mostly paprika based with no brown sugar. I really enjoyed the sweetness of these ribs and the crunch of the mustard rub. I may omit the turbinado sugar step next time (the heat was never high enough for the sugar to caramelize), but in general- these were a win for this style rib.

I may start the ribs a little earlier next time, though...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade Ketchup

Weird?  I know not what you mean.
A guest post from my buddy John who writes the blog Those Darn Vegetarians:

Before I decided to disappoint my parents by becoming a vegetarian, I loved me some hamburgers...  in fact, some suspected it's the reason I moved to the LA:  a place known for burger joints.
And traffic.
And weirdos- but mostly for burger joints.

Before "making the switch", I'd made it my goal to find the best hamburgers the city had to offer.  I made an attempt some might describe as heroic- others as quixotic.  Before giving up meat (at least for now) I managed to eat at all but two of the burger establishments on my "must try" list (which immediately downgraded my list to a "should try" list).  Sadly,  Umami Burger  was one of the places I didn't try.  I was sure that the fifth taste would elude me forever.   

Then an old roommate called me up and invited me to join her for a bite at Umami.  I relegated myself to the mushroom-edamame Earth burger.  The burger was pretty tasty.  However, what really knocked my socks off was their homemade ketchup.
I wear silly clothes for money. Also, I love you.

Despite my love of burgers, I've never been one for the red stuff.  I mean, I'd eat it every now and again...  but it was just kind of there.  It was more of an obligation than a condiment.  Should I put ketchup on my fries?  I don't want to, but ketchup is right there and I don't want to hurt her feelings.  Fine.  I'll use it.
Umami's ketchup was different.  It had both a sweetness and a vinnegarosity I was unfamiliar with.  It was, quite simply, amazing. "Why don't I make my own ketchup?" I thought.
Why don't I?  

I do.

Yesterday, when I was walking through the farmer's market, I stumbled upon some beautiful tomatoes and decided to take them home- and this ketchup made me happy, happy man.
Sadly, this will not make much ketchup

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds of tomatoes (the type of tomatoes is lady's choice), chopped
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
You will want to eat this.  You must wait.
Spray a heavy-bottomed saucepan with non-stick cooking spray (or use some olive oil) and add the ginger, garlic, chili, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.  Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.Add the basil leaves, then put the sauce in a food processor or mix it up real nice with a hand blender.  (I put mine in my blender, which I do not recommend because it obliterates the solid material instead of leaving sizable chunks...  making the next step tedious).  Strain the mixture with a sieve twice.  Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar.  No matter how much you stir it, it will look like it belongs on Dancing with the Stars.  Do not be put off!  It is delicious and very worth it.
NOT JR Martinez

Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.

You will NEVER, ever go back to store-bought ketchup again.  Ever.