I’m not sure exactly when ketchup cemented itself as the go-to condiment for fries, or as the sauce of choice for hamburgers and hot dogs alike. All I know is, it’s not a BBQ without a big red, plastic squirt-top vessel of Heinz ketchup.
The Heinz brand has clearly dominated the ketchup market over the years. But to my fellow sauce aficienados, I have something you’ll want to know. There is a world of ketchup beyond Heinz! Homemade ketchup is easy to make, so no longer must you continue your guilty pleasures of squirting Heinz on everything.
Don’t think you’re making Heinz at home, because you’ll just be disappointed. Rather, view it as another type of tomato condiment. A different kind of ketchup. Because I like to make sure it’s distinct from our favorite, I kick it up with chipotle spice, richen the sweetness with maple syrup, and keep it more chunky than smooth. Which altogether creates a wonderfully balanced tomato-ey tang with a nice residual kick in the form of a thick sauce that can be spread onto or dipped into.
There are some recipes out there that instruct you to use pounds and pounds of farm fresh tomatoes, which requires scoring and par-boiling and peeling tomato skins, then seeding and pressing through a food mill or potato ricer. And despite the fact that I own six colanders and two salad spinners and a slew of other kitchen gadgetry, I regret that I unfortunately have no food mill nor potato ricer, nor do I really want to spend hours laboring over a bushel of tomatoes. Furthermore, being that Winter is around the corner (or, as some might say, Winter is Coming), and we are no longer staring at farm fresh beefsteak tomatoes anyway.
So here, I am suggesting something rather shocking, a recipe that prefers canned tomatoes over fresh. Gasp~! you might say, canned tomatoes? I swear there is no sacrifice in taste, that there is no difference in quality, and the end result comes with a process ten times easier! Do be forewarned, however, that choosing high-quality, whole peeled tomatoes does make a difference. My personal preference is the canned San Marzano brand, which I hoard by the dozen in my pantry anyway.
So this year, even though the grilling season is nearing an end, try your hand at this homemade condiment. You’ll find yourself slathering the sauce over eggs or hash browns, with oven-grilled chicken or fish, and maybe the occasional oven-broiled hamburger or sausage, even in the depths of winter.
- 3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (I suggest the San Marzano brand)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil on High heat. When hot, add onions and sautee for one minute. Add garlic cloves, and sautee for 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.
- Add tomatoes, breaking up the whole peeled tomatoes with the edge of a wooden spoon. Add remainder of ingredients and stir. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for one hour.
- Remove cinnamon stick from the pan and take the pot off the stove to cool slightly. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender, making sure to take caution if the mixture is still hot.
- Return to the stove and cook for another hour, until reduced and desired consistency is achieved.