Last week at the farmer’s market, one of the stands had a box of beautiful orange habaneros. Now, I don’t eat habaneros much, because they kill you, but for some reason I felt drawn to them. “How much?” I asked. “25 cents each,” he answered. “or 10 for a dollar. Or 15 for a dollar.” This was my kind of bargaining.
So, after purchasing 30 habaneros for a dollar, I walked away a happy man with a confusing amount of burn-your-face-off peppers. I’ve seen a couple decent salsas that use them (conservatively), but I decided that what my big bag of peppers deserved was to be turned into a hot sauce. So that’s what I did!
It took about 10 seconds of googling to discover that my hero of Mexican cuisine, Rick Bayless, had a habanero hot sauce recipe. My search was complete. His recipe uses carrots, onions and garlic to add a little more flavor (and reinforce the orange color), and looked pretty delicious while still maintaining the “I wish my mouth would just die” quality of a good hot sauce. I wasn’t disappointed, and you won’t be either. Here was my scientific test kit:
I dipped the chip about 1/2 inch into the sauce, and let all the extra drip off before carefully putting it in my mouth. It was great. It burned, and got my heart beating, and made my mouth go numb and my nose start running, but at the same time it had a great flavor and wasn’t quite at the atomic bomb level of other hot sauces I’ve tried. It would do really well as a substitution for tabasco sauce (although it’s a little hotter), when you want to add a lot of kick and a little flavor to something you already enjoy.
So try it out!
Habanero Hot Sauce Recipe (from Rick Bayless)
12 orange habanero chiles, stems removed
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
In a dry pan at medium heat, roast your garlic, turning occasionally to toast and blacken on all sides.
In a medium saucepan, add the carrot, onion, habanero, vinegar and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-20 minutes until the carrots are tender.
Chuck everything into a blender, including the (peeled) garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until very very smooth.
Feel free to strain the sauce to get out the thickest pulp and the seeds (makes a smoother sauce). Adjust with water to your desired consistency.
The recipe makes about 2 cups, which I divided into a 12 ounce jar and a 4 ounce jar. The bigger one I put in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal for another time, and the little one I put in the fridge. Hopefully I can find an awesome little bottle to put this stuff in eventually, but for now it’ll be available for any day I realize my face hasn’t been burned off enough.
What do you think?