I was up to my elbows in frozen meat and stock doing an inventory of our freezer when I found out we were hosting dinner later that day.  My wife asked what we should make I joked hamburgers since four pounds of ground grass fed beef was one of the things I had already located.  My wife surprised my saying it was a great idea.  She thought we could do a simple dinner with a build your own burger (BYOB) theme.  Nothing fancy.

For some reason my wife started to roll her eyes when I started to make homemade ketchup.  I think she said something like “I should have known…”  I had been wanting to make ketchup for a while and now I had a great excuse.  Add homemade mayo (you should really do this too even my wife admitted its superiority), “kids guacamole” (aka mashed up avocado with citrus), sauteed onions and mushrooms, bacon, mustard and pickles rounded out the offerings.  For the burgers I’m a purest.  They only get gray salt and pepper and, in this case, sharp cheddar though I will often forgo even that.  Nothing fancy.

Homemade Ketchup

olive oil
28 ounce can of tomatoes (I used whole but it was in the cupboard)
1 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
half a star anise
few dried porcinis
some thyme
some bay
some peppercorns
some cloves
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar (more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions in the olive oil with the star anise (this is a Blumenthal trick and I am digging it).  When they are translucent add the puree, garlic, and herbs and spices and disperse.  Then add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and cook slowly for about an hour or until nice and thick.  Let it cool a bit and carefully blend and then pass through a strainer.  Mine was still a bit runny so I put it back on the stove and cooked it down more.  I should add that having things like dried porcinis and whole spices on hand and herbs in the garden make this kind of thing a snap and a bit of an improvisation.  The result was a delicious ketchup with a lot more complexity and depth than anything you will find in a bottle.  Go ahead, give it a try!



Filed under Cooking, Family, Food

15 responses to “BYOB

  1. Very nice fixings for the hamburgers. I might even try to make the ketchup. Thanks Josh.

  2. And here I thought BYOB stood for Bring Your Own Booze.
    Fantastic ketchup recipe!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. Love it! I think it’s great to make your own condiments.. something I’d like to do this year! This looks like a great ketchup recipe to start with:)

  4. Such a good idea – especially here in the cold northeast of the Country. It brings memories of outdoor picnics and activities. Hadn’t thought of making my own ketchup. Well, on second thought, with my friends, Hunt’s is more than good enough.

  5. I’d love to try a homemade ketchup. I’d be curious to see how the kids would react to it. They’re pretty sold on Heinz. Maybe if I put it in a Heinz bottle…Looks like a fun and delicious dinner party to me. 🙂 I particularly like that you keep the burgers simple.

  6. Katherine wants me to try some homemade condiments, but she’s not big on ketchup. After seeing this though, I might have to do it first. I love the idea of a burger party. It’s really versatile and that meat sounds wonderful. It’s not like at your house you’d be putting out limp pickles, flat buns and American cheese. Seriously gourmet spread!

    • Another one on my list is mustard but some of the recipes I’ve seen called for soaking the seeds longer than I had. The meat was very tasty and despite everybody saying I had made way too many there were only a few left over.

  7. The ketchup sounds wonderful-this I will definitely try.

  8. Joshua, you really made me miss the warm sunshine of summer with this recipe. I agree that homemade mayo is so much better. I’ll make this recipe when we go to the cottage in Maine for the summer and start grilling. Thanks for sharing another great recipe.

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