Some like it hot is an understament in this household. We like to tease one of my sons as liking food with his hot sauce! On a recent vacation in Lewes, DE, we had to stop at Peppers, a specialized store offering the world’s largest collection of hot sauce. With names like Spontaneous Combustion, Satan’s Rage and Black Mamba Six Gets Bitten, this is not a store for sissies! We walked out with a huge bag of very different sauces. This got me intrigued as to what made the difference in the sauces and I started reading labels. The ingredients seemed pretty simple: essentially peppers, onions, garlic, vinegar and seasonings. We thought it would be fun to try making our own at home. I made two batches, one green and one red and recipes for both follow.
For our first batch, we picked up some serrano chilies. We could not find red ones, only green ones. The red peppers are just a ripened version of the green. This holds true for all pepper varieties. As the pepper ripens, the degree of hotness increases also, exponentially. This is due to an increased level of capsaicin which is what makes the peppers hot. Armed with surgical gloves, a mask and goggles, I chopped off the stems and sliced the serranos thinly, seeds and membranes left in. In a bit of oil, I cooked a sliced onion, some garlic and the peppers. When they were very soft, the whole thing went into the food processor and vinegar was streamed in. The sauce was then salted and black peppered to taste. So easy! But work in a well ventilated area!!! Those fumes are potent. I can only imagine how much hotter the sauce would be with red serranos. As it was, I could barely taste test this condiment, whimp that I am.
Serrano Hot Sauce
Yields 1 1/2 cups (adapted from food.com)
20 serrano peppers, stems removed, sliced thinly
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 1/2 T minced garlic
1 t vegetable oil
2 c water
1 c distilled white vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper
iDirections: In a non reactive pan, cook the onion, garlic and pepers in the oil for 3 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 more minutes until the peppers are soft. Let the mixture cool to room temperature to allow flavors to steep. Transfer to a food processor and with the motor running, add the vinegar and purée until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in a sterilized glass jars for up to a month in the refrigerator.
For the second batch, I found a medley of hot red peppers at a farm market. Hot cherry, serrano and jalapeno peppers were stemmed, seeded and chopped. Along with the traditional onions and garlic, carrots were added for both color and to provide an onctious texture so this sauce could be easily used as a condiment in sandwiches or burgers. Some mothers bake cookies for care packages. I am sending a batch of hot sauce!
Red Hot Sauce with Lime
1 1/2 c chopped carrots
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t salt
10 hot red peppers, stem and seeds removed, then chopped(if using all serranos, you’ll need 20)
1/3 c lime juice freshly squeezed
1 1/2 c distilled white vinegar
Turn on the stove ventilation. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the carrots and peppers are soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Purée in a blender until silky smooth. Refrigerate in sterilized jars for a month.
Got a passion for hot sauce? Read Buzzfeed’s hilarious homage to hot sauce addicts here!