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Friday, April 26, 2013

How sweet it is: Unsweetened Tomato Ketchup

America's condiment, the ubiquitous ketchup. All of our delicious, national pride inspiring, hometown   favorite dishes require ketchup: hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, scrambled eggs, beans. I don't know. I guess there aren't many dishes that truly benefit from the addition of tomato syrup. But I eat it on everything anyway. And I've learned a little known secret about this simple sauce: it doesn't need sugar. Tomatoes and sauteed onions are naturally sweet. Granted, without corn syrup, you're looking at a slightly different animal. It's less syrup and more sauce. I think it's more versatile. Maybe.

Unsweetened Tomato Ketchup

32oz can tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
½ medium onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp allspice
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tbs vinegar
3 tbs oil

Start by heating the oil over medium in a large sauce pan with a lid (not on it; you'll need it later). Drop your onions and then your garlic into the pan and saute until the onions are completely clarified but not quite caramelized, stirring often. Then toss in your spices and continue to saute for five minutes. Now get out your blender; it's time to blast these veggies to bits! Put your can of tomatoes in first, then empty the contents of your pan into the blender. Blend on high speed until your sauce is smooth like glass. Maybe it never gets that smooth. In any case blend it well, friends. Blend it well.

ketchup and potatoes
Pour your blended sauce back into the sauce pan and put it on low to simmer. Stir in your vinegar and tomato paste. Now you want to put that lid on because as your sauce thickens, those little simmer bubbles will turn into giant ketchup eruptions (trust me; I know)! Leave the lid slightly askew to allow for steam to escape. Stir occasionally. Always be careful when removing the lid (eruptions!). Simmer for an hour or until desired thickness is reached. You've got yourself some ketchup.

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