Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Half-Day Chili Sauce

One of the best things about my neighborhood is that us moms stick together. And when school lets out early for the monthly "half-day" teacher inservice trainings, it's good to have a plan for how to fill those hours when the kids are usually in class.

Molly supplied the idea and the recipe for our most recent free afternoon. Luckily, Jeannie has a garden that won't stop producing tomatoes, I had a bunch of poblanos and onions and we were all ready and able to get chopping — and talking.

Our kiddos were just happy to be running around outside together all day.

Molly's recipe is from David Letterman's mom, Dorothy. (I never knew she wrote a cookbook!)

But with all the tomatoes and extra peppers we had, our version got tweaked a bit, and we nearly doubled the recipe. We divided everything among three pots for the final cooking process so that each of us had one to take home.

The instructions for this chili sauce are pretty simple and you can easily make adjustments according to what and how much you have on hand.

The best part? Getting some time with friends to chat and catch up while chopping and deseeding the peppers and tomatoes.

This sauce tastes so good on its own. You can use it to top all kinds of grilled meats or burgers. Molly uses the chili sauce as a braising liquid for a roast. I added some to a meatloaf. Let us know how you put this yummy sauce to work in your kitchen!

Mangia! Mangia!

Half-Day Chili Sauce
20 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
6 to 8 large onions, chopped
10 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 to 4 hot peppers (use your favorite, such as jalapeƱo or poblano)
3 tablespoons salt
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup cider vinegar

If you're not sure how to peel a tomato, follow these steps: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Fill a large bowl with ice and cover with water. Once water boils, put a few tomatoes into the boiling water at a time. Let sit for just a minute, then transfer to ice water.

Remove tomatoes from ice bath after a minute or so. Starting at the X, peel skins off the tomatoes. They should slide off fairly easily.

Peel your onions and cut them in chunks. Cut up the peppers, too.

Working in batches, pulse the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until well chopped but not mushy. Transfer tomatoes to a pot. Then chop onions and peppers in the food processor and add to the pot with the tomatoes.

Add the spices, sugar and vinegar to the pot. All the laughter in the room from the fun conversations you'll have while making this chili sauce with friends is sure to add some sweetness, too.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour or more until desired consistency.

Let cool completely, then transfer any sauce you won't use right away to ziplock, quart size freezer bags. You can freeze the sauce until you are ready to use it.

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