If your go-to gift for Father’s Day is a tie, socks, shirt or some other article of apparel, on behalf of dads everywhere — please try something new! If your dad loves spicy foods, a signature homemade hot sauce is the perfect gift. You also can start a tradition of presenting him with a new bottle of custom-made hot sauce each year.
The trick to the perfect hot sauce is using a combination of peppers with a balance of sweetness, fruit and heat. Fruity peppers like the Aji Amarillo Chili, the Mexican Mirasol Pepper or the Yellow Peruvian Chile (which is a deep yellow, sometimes orange, 4 to 5 inches long) have an intense spice with a fruity flavor. A Mustard Habanero pepper retains the heat found in many Habanero varieties but has fruity overtones. This pepper is dark-yellow with hints of orange and a pointed tip.
Chile peppers like poblano, New Mexico or Anaheim are a mix of fruity, mild and spicy. Certain types of peppers like the Caribbean Red Pepper and Scotch Bonnets add to the hot sauce the heat that will make your Dad’s mouth water, his ears pop and his body temperature rise. Combining different types of peppers with vegetables will add sweet, fruity and flavorful notes to your homemade hot sauce.
Using your computer or supplies from the arts-and-crafts store, create a special label for Dad’s custom “Hot Stuff Hot Sauce” using the recipe below.
You also can find beautiful, but inexpensive decorative glass bottles at discount stores. Tie a ribbon to your gift bottle and a new Father’s Day tradition is born!
HOT STUFF HOT SAUCE
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 teaspoons salt
2 large jalapeno peppers, diced
2 medium chile peppers, such as poblano, New Mexico or Anaheim, diced (see Tip below)
2-4 habanero or other small, hot chile peppers, stemmed, halved and seeded (see Tip)
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 large carrot, tip and root end removed, chopped
1 pound tomatoes, diced (about 3 cups) or 1 (28 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1-3 teaspoons sugar or stevia
1 cup distilled white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add in peppers, garlic and carrots. Cook, stirring, until onion begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Note: This should be done in a very well-ventilated area! The fumes from the cooking peppers are strong, so do not lean over the pot, or you may inhale the acrid steam.)
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes and sugar or stevia. Bring mixture to a boil, then return heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep until it comes to room temperature. Carefully transfer pepper mixture to a food processor or blender. (Use caution when pureeing hot ingredients.) If you’re using a blender, place the lid on loosely and cover it with a dishcloth to allow any steam to escape. Puree mixture for 15 seconds. With food processor or blender running, add vinegar through the feed tube or opening in the lid in a steady stream.
4. Puree until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; pour the pureed mixture through the sieve, gently pushing on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. (Discard solids.) Let the sauce cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary.
5. Transfer hot sauce to a sterilized, pint glass jar or bottle and secure with airtight lid. Refrigerate. The hot sauce tastes best when aged at least two weeks. Shake bottle to recombine the liquid before using. Can be stored in refrigerator up to six months. Makes one pint.
Tip: The membranes that hold the seeds are the spiciest part of chile peppers (that’s where the capsaicin is). The seeds pick up some spiciness by association. You can adjust the heat of the peppers and the spiciness of the hot sauce by using some or all of the seeds along with the flesh of the peppers. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after chopping hot peppers, or wear rubber gloves.