{Hot Sauce} putting peppers to good use

I have a lifelong history of love and hate with peppers.  I think they are visually stunning and as a printmaking major in college I often used them as subject-matter.  I love the human-like gestures inferred from their twists and turns.  They look beautiful to me, but sadly, when it comes to eating peppers I’m usually not a fan.  I’ve tried and do manage to sneak them in to chili.  I can tolerate a sweet red pepper in a stir fry as well, but until recently that was about it.  Last week I ended up with several jalapenos and a couple sweet red peppers from my CSA share with no plans for using them.  I decided it was time to experiment with hot sauce.

My husband, as well as many other people in my life, is a fan of hot sauce so I knew if I could make a good batch it would go to good use.  I consulted Put Em Up and was surprised by the simplicity of Sherri Brooks Vinton’s recipe.  She calls for only one pound of chilies, two cups of distilled white vinegar and a tablespoon of salt.  I added about a tablespoon of sugar to this mixture because I thought it might appeal to me more if it was a little sweet.

After pureeing those ingredients in my blender and waiting for the head to settle, I found the result was a little chunkier than I’d expected, but overall an acceptable texture.  Usually I have no interest in the little bottles crowding out the salt and pepper on the table at a Mexican restaurant, but now that I had made my own hot sauce I thought it was time to try it.  That night I made a vegetable chili and we found the hot sauce was a nice addition, especially when combined with a little sour cream.

My chili contains chopped carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, spinach, all sauteed in olive oil, then two cans of beans – this time black and kidney – and a large can of diced tomatoes, finished off with a couple cups of chicken broth.  I add cumin and fresh thyme, along with salt and pepper. I try to let the whole thing sit on the stove for at least an hour at a low temp so all the flavors kind of settle in to each other.

The next day for lunch, I prepared an old favorite, eggs and rice (just heat up leftover rice in a pan with butter and scramble in the eggs), this time adding hot sauce with maple syrup.  I found this combination quite satisfying.  I think in general it’s safe to say that I am a greater fan of hot sauce than ever before and will continue along this line of gastronomical experimentation.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. We have received a ridiculous quantity of peppers from our neighbors; thanks for giving us ideas for what to do with them!

  2. Alexis says:

    Sandra – glad to give you the idea! I realized I haven’t really done my research on preserving, or canning hot sauce. The author of Put Em Up doesnt say anything about canning, but I wonder if it is possible?

  3. Deanna says:

    Wow – a lot of great ideas here! My crop of jalapenos are hanging out in the freezer, and my Hot Portugals are drying in the pantry, but I think they might become hot sauce instead. Great post, Alexis!

    1. Alexis says:

      Thanks Deanna! I might need to chat you up about how to freeze peppers.

  4. Linda McGraw says:

    I found I had a colandar full of jalepenos at the end of the season, so I made jalapeno salsa. Delicious, and it has the added benefit of opening the sinuses and helping one to breath better. After a couple of gasps anyway.

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