One of the many things that caught my eye in this month’s issue of Saveur was a recipe for homemade ketchup. Ketchup is one of those things I’ve never really thought to make before, but I was intrigued to see how different it would taste.
So of course I gathered all the ingredients, or so I thought, and got to work. It’s pretty simple actually. I just roughly chopped some tomatoes, onions and pepper and tossed them in a pot. I kind of missed the ball when I came to the spices though. First, I didn’t have any cheesecloth handy, so I used some cotton fabric I had. Then I realized I didn’t have cinnamon sticks or celery seeds… whoops. I improvised and added a few peppercorns to the little bundle and tied it up. I also added a tiny bit of ground cinnamon, along with a few other ingredients and let it simmer on the stovetop for a while.
Once everything was nice and soft, I took it off the stove and tossed it all in the food processor. I let it buzz for a minute or two, until everything was nice and smooth. After it started to resemble ketchup, I pushed it all through a strainer and let it simmer a little while longer in order to thicken it a bit.
I bet you’re wondering how it tasted. Well, it was definitely different from Heinz. My ketchup was thicker and a bit sweeter than the bottled stuff. It was really quite delicious actually. I think I may have put a little too much cinnamon in it, but other than that it was rich and full of flavor. I think it would taste great on top of meatloaf. I can’t wait to try it again and add a little spice to it, maybe some cayenne or jalepeno.
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon*
1⁄4 tsp. celery seeds**
1⁄4 tsp. chile flakes
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
2 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
5 tbsp. brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 anaheim chile, chopped
1 clove garlic
Wrap cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in a layer of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle and put into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat along with tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, and anaheim chiles; smash and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions and chiles are very soft, 40 minutes.
Remove spice bundle; purée sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes. Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
Transfer ketchup to a glass jar. Set aside; let cool. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
*I didn’t have a cinnamon stick so I used 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, which was too much. I think just a pinch would be perfect.
** I also didn’t have celery seeds and used peppercorn instead.