In some ways, our kids have begun to finally eat in earnest, for they have found ketchup.
So far, we've restricted it mostly to potato things — Crispy Crowns and such. But tonight I noticed they dunked their chicken into it, so I think we're probably off and running.
Realizing this, I decided to find a recipe of my own, and I did rather quickly in Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's License to Grill. I've been grilling out of this baby for years. In fact, I think I've made this ketchup before, you know, as a kind of curiosity. But, now, I'm doing it with feeling.
Here are the ingredients and what they mean to me:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil — I use olive whenever and wherever I can, settling my young stallions off on the road to Mediterranean goodness. For this recipe, omit your best extra-virgins.
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced small — Onions are a trick, in anything, but ketchup is the one place they won't know what hit ’em.
2 tablespoons minced garlic — Ditto.
2 medium tomatoes, cored and diced medium — Fresh in summer, canned in winter. A good time to try all the new San Marzano brands hitting the market shelves.
1 cup tomato puree — Umami for flavor, vitamin C for health.
1 cup white vinegar — After tasting, I was sure this would create revolt. But no. They ate it up, with relish. I might sub next time with cider vinegar. And, for the adult version, a decent balsamic. Maybe half that, half white.
1/2 cup water — To thin.
1/3 cup raisins — Our lads have been eating dried grapes since first breath. If they start balking, I'm going to drop the raisin card on them. "Raisins? In here?" "Dang straight, smallman!"
1/2 cup molasses — If I introduce it now, however subtly, maybe it'll stick. Molasses is a tough-to-come-by flavor for a kid. And we all have a bit of kid in us.
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar — How sweet it is, but not as much as storebought. Use Sucanat here, if you have it.
14 to 16 dashes Worcestershire sauce — 15. Aim for the middle. What's a dash, more or less, anyway? I can't even explain the quantified measurements to them.
Pinch of ground cloves or mace — Mace always sounds to me like a weapon. I keep it around about like I do handguns. Cloves, in a pinch.
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste – Their taste for pepper is slight. Salt, I went easy, about a tablespoon. It could tweak up a bit, methinks.
You saute the onions in the oil until transparent, then toss in the garlic and push around until fragrant. Then you pour in the rest and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour and blend. I'll let you know how it freezes. (Any canners out there?) It tastes gorgeous, and barely kid-friendly.