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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Chili Sauce

This is an old recipe from a church cookbook I got as a wedding present. It's attributed to Helen Lake, so wherever you are, Helen, thank you. I first made it years ago when one of my kids was allergic to corn to the point they couldn't even have corn syrup. He was only a year old and loved ketchup, but every brand I could find back then had corn syrup. I found a bottle of chili sauce that didn't have anything he was allergic to, but it was expensive. So I tried making my own.

This is a mild flavored sauce, with a kick of vinegar. You can chop it as fine as you like. It will still be a bit watery, not thick like commercial ketchup. I like to use it to make sloppy joes.

Chili Sauce

2 dozen large tomatoes (about 18 c., peeled and chopped, seeded if you like)
4 green bell peppers (chopped very fine, about 2 c.)
2 red bell peppers (chopped very fine, about 1 c.)
5 large onions (shredded fine, about 3 c.)
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. nutmeg
3 1/2 c. vinegar (5% acidity, IMPORTANT! This is for food safety, make sure you use the right acidity. Plain white vinegar is the best, although you can use cider vinegar.)
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. pickling salt (non-iodized)

Mix everything except vinegar, sugar, and salt, in a very large, heavy saucepan, 10-12 qt stock pot should be big enough. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour, until sauce thickens. Make sure you stir it every 10 minutes or so to keep it from scorching on the bottom, especially as it thickens. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and salt. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Ladle into clean pint jars and process to seal. This recipe makes anywhere from 6 pint bottles to about 10 pint bottles, depending on how long you let it cook and juicy the tomatoes are.

For processing, clean rims and screw on a new lid insert. Boil for 40 minutes (this is at my altitude of 5000 feet above sea level) to seal. Remove and let cool. Wash jars and label with date and contents. Check seal before storing.

For canning, check out these books and sites:
USDA Guide to Home Canning (PDF download)
http://www.homecanning.com/
Ball (brand of canning jars) site
http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm
National Center for Home Food Preservation

Sloppy Joes My Way

1 lb. ground beef
1 pint chili sauce
2 T. prepared mustard
1 c. quick-cooking oatmeal

Brown hamburger in large frying pan, drain off grease. Stir in chili sauce and mustard, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cook for 15 minutes. Stir in oatmeal. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir well before serving.

The oatmeal helps thicken it, stretch the meat a bit farther, and add fiber. If you don't like the gummy texture, try using 1/2 c. of instant grits or cornmeal, or 1 c. instant rice.

Serve over buns or bread with plenty of extra chili sauce, mustard, ketchup, sliced tomatoes, etc.