BBQ Sauce : Sweet, Sour and Spicy

Summer means foodstuff that’s been smothered in BBQ sauce! However, the store-bought variety usually comes with a horde of ingredients (…and sugars…) that don’t so much float my boat. This version is relatively quick to make and comes jam-packed with all the flavours that make my grilling heart sing. Give it a go : feeling free to add, subtract and substitute ingredients as tickles your fancy.

Yield : 3 generous cups

What you need :

  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks (or a small parsnip, or a small beet, or omit the veggie altogether)
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped (no need to peel)
  • 7 dried apricots, chopped (or dried prunes, or raisins, or dried goldenberries – you get the idea!)
  • 1/4 cup of something acidic (I usually use lemon or grapefruit juice and apple cider vinegar combined; depending on where you want the tastes to go, wine vinegar, Sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar are also options for you)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari, or shoyu)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or regular yellow mustard, or powdered mustard in the 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp range)
  • a 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (or omit and add your favourite hot-sauce to desired level)
  • 2 pinches (or up to 1/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches of ground clove (or more or less)
  • 2 pinches of ground allspice (or more or less)
  • 1 dried Aji Panca pepper (or an Ancho pepper, or another pepper of the taste and heat level you like, or a chili powder of your choice in the quantity you desire)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or roughly 1/4 cup tomato paste with 3/4 cups of water)
  • 1 cup of something liquid (water works fine, but you can also use vegetable, mushroom or sea vegetable stock for added depth)
  • extra salt or ume plum vinegar if desired

What you do :

  1. Put everything but the extra salt or ume plum vinegar in a saucepan. Bring it all to a boil over medium flame. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes or so, until the apples and carrot are very soft and the smells have all melded into a joyful unity.
  2. Cool a bit.
  3. Blend using – ideally – a high-speed blender, until completely smooth and silky. Alternately, an immersion blender or a regular blender will do the job too, you just may not get as sumptously luscious a texture.
  4. Taste, adding extra salt or ume plum vinegar if desired, to get the flavours to really shine.

Variations :

  • Feel free to add garlic and/or onion to the sauce if you like !
  • Try making the sauce using 3 pears or 2 peaches instead of the apples, depending on what’s in season round about where you are. Cherries are another good choice! If you go cherry, you’ll need about a cup of pitted fresh cherries.

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