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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberry-Habanero Barbecue Sauce

I was just cooking for the two of us, so I made enough sauce to top two chicken breasts (next time, I'm trying it with pulled pork in the slow cooker), plus a little extra for fry-dippin'. Shouldn't have much trouble increasing it though- I taste it throughout and adjust amounts anyway, so these measurements are approximate. Adjust to your taste. Isn't that the best way to make barbecue sauce?

1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 clove diced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup hulled strawberries, chopped
habanero pepper, diced (leave seeds out for less spice)*
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. chili powder
dash or two of cayenne pepper (optional)
I also tore a couple basil leaves and added them because my plants are out of control!

You can prepare this in advance, if you want- put everything in the saucepan, bring it up to a boil, stirring occasionally, then drop to a simmer. Let it go for about an hour, coming back once in a while to give it a stir, until it has reduced down to sauciness.

But I made it while I was cooking dinner, so I didn't add all the water at once. I let the sauce simmer the entire time I was cooking dinner, about an hour, adding a big splash of water whenever it started getting dry, stirring and letting it reduce again. I have no idea if this is better or a waste of effort. Do what works for you.

*Okay, look. This pepper scared the bejesus out of me. I had rubber gloves on before I even got close to it. I knew I was going to somehow accidentally find a way to get "spicy" into my eyeball (luckily I was wrong... this time) Plus, I like spicy food, but I want to be comfortable while eating it. I want to enjoy, not test my endurance. The pepper was seriously like an inch long, and I was terrified. I cut the stem end off and gave it a little massage to break up the membranes, then squeezed all the seeds out. I felt brave when I added the entire pepper after it was diced, rationalizing that if it was too spicy, I could always make more sauce to dilute it. By the end of the hour, I had added about half the seeds, and was pleased with the level of spice. Sheen-on-the-face spicy, not sweating-bullets spicy.

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