October 09, 2004

grandma's chili sauce

A good thing to do with the last of the red garden tomatoes that are about to rot, and a diced green pepper someone brought over for a salad and no one ate (of course not, because green peppers are gross). It's an old-skool yankee new england thing -- my mom and grandma would make this when I was a kid, and I thought it was the most revolting thing this side of raw green peppers, but somehow in my 30s I figured out that it's delicious: tangy, sweet, savory. Great with roast meats, on sandwiches, with cheese & crackers. And also great mixed into sweet boston-style baked beans.

6 ripe tomatoes (2.5 lbs, or 2 pint cans)
2 peppers (1 will do)
1 onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar (you may want to use 2/3 cup)
scant 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar (you may want to use 2/3 cup)

Peel the tomatoes if you are industrious, or do what I do and put them in the saucepan in really big chunks and when they've cooked a little, fish the chunks out and pull off the skins. Chop the peppers and onion into a fairly fine dice, or to your liking for a condiment. Add them to tomatoes, along with the vinegar, salt & sugar. Let it cook down over a slow heat. Break up the tomatoes as they soften. If you think it needs more vinegar or sugar after it's cooked down enough to blend flavors, add a bit more so you're using the 2/3 cup quantity. Keep boiling it down, stirring as needed to prevent burning, until it's as thick a sauce as you want. Mine cooked slowly for most of the afternoon, and is still a bit loose. If you really get it thick, it'll be quite sweet, like a tangy jam, or you can leave it looser and it'll be more vegetal and saucy. I give mine a couple of zaps with the immersion blender to even out the texture a bit, though it's still chunky. Pour it into a clean jar and keep in the fridge. This recipe makes about 1.5 pints. If you like canning, you can do a batch of 5 pints (7.5 lbs tomato, 1.5 lb peppers, .75 lb onion, 2.5 c vinegar, 1 tbsp salt, 2 c sugar) and put them up the proper way... but as previously stated on this blog, I am lazy, so I skip the canning part and rely on the fridge.

Posted by foodnerd at October 9, 2004 12:40 AM
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