By Ian Knauer, Bon Appétit
This is the latest post in Ian Knauer's Farm to Table series. Ian will be checking in weekly throughout the season with recipes and stories from his family farm in Knauertown, PA
Heinz is the undisputed queen of all ketchups. If the virtues that you seek in a queen are perfectly balanced delectability and a color that mirrors the reddest of supermodel lips, then she's your go-to girl. She's beautiful, efficient, tasty--and available. I'll be the first to admit that at times, she's been my go-to girl, too.
Related: Our 5 Favorite New Ways to Use a Tomato
But, like many beauties, Heinz can be shallow, even a little trashy. When you ask a bottle of Heinz to describe herself and the third thing she tells you is "high fructose corn syrup," she seems a little cheap. And that's because she is.
Here's the lesson: Appreciate the appeal of Heinz Tomato Ketchup--even fool around with her once in a while--but know that for life, the ketchup you really need is one with substance and depth. You need a ketchup you'll want to see every morning over breakfast and every night at dinner. You need a ketchup you can raise your kids on.
Ok, enough of that metaphor.
Heinz not only dominates the retail ketchup market with 60 percent of sales, it also has a strong hold on the ketchup-tomato seed market. Last spring I planted Heinz 1350 VF tomatoes in my garden, and now they are ripe and ready for picking. I spent a few hours this week restocking my pantry with enough tomato ketchup to get me through the rest of the year. Over time, I've tweaked my ketchup recipe. Its rich tomato flavor and subtle heat are lightly sweetened with brown sugar. Spices add comfort, and roasted garlic depth.
I don't need to choose just one ketchup for the rest of my days. But if I did, Heinz would find itself alone, sitting on the grocery store shelf.
See also: Our Favorite Grilling Recipes
Makes about 1 quart
This recipe is just the sort of inspired D.I.Y. project that promotes a good home cook to a legendary home cook. One caution: The ketchup splatters a bit as it boils and reduces, but, as you'll see, the outcome is well worth the mess and the time involved. This ketchup is one you can feel really good about eating. It is wholesome, substantial, and (most important) delicious.
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 bay leaf, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 lb. ripe sauce tomatoes; such as Roma, San Marzano, Heinz 1350 VF
1 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 head of garlic, roasted
1/4 cup capers with brine
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Toast the coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are several shades darker and very fragrant. Finely grind the seeds with the bay leaf in a spice mill.
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook until well browned; this will take about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, including the ground, toasted spices. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have broken down. This will take about 45 minutes. Puree the ketchup in a blender or food processor, then return it to the pot. Return ketchup to a simmer and continue to cook until it reaches a pastelike consistency. This will take 1 1/2-2 more hours. Toward the end of cooking, stir the ketchup more frequently to prevent scorching. Season the ketchup with salt to taste.
Place ketchup in sterilized canning jars while still hot, then cap jars and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let the jars cool at room temperature until they seal.
More from Bon Appetit:
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• Bon Appetit's Favorite Grilling Recipes
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Photo by: Ian Knauer
By Ian Knauer, Bon Appétit