About this recipe, I will say two things right off the bat. First, it’s delicious. Second, it doesn’t exactly taste like the ketchup you’ve probably grown to know and love. It’s a recipe from the Jamie Oliver site, and I remember my mother making it before (albeit with red tomatoes and possibly canned ones) and it tasting more like the ketchup I’m familiar with. What I made, with garden-fresh yellow heirloom tomatoes, tastes like a grown up ketchup or a very tangy, savoury tomato sauce. And it’s not the tomatoes that I think accounted for a different result than I’d expected…
It was a lot of basil and less spices than I’d expected. I think I am missing a fennel seed flavour and would like to try including those, and perhaps thyme or marjoram in my next batch. For there will be a next batch, since this is still ketchup and I live with someone who puts ketchup on almost everything (no, really). It’s still the perfect sauce to dip potato wedges into. And if you’re familiar with the semi-famous hot sauce served and sold at The Old York Bar and Grill in Toronto, this tastes a lot like it without the heat. So you know I’m adding scotch bonnet chilies to the next batch too.
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 a bulb of fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 stick of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 a fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
a bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound amazing cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
plus 1 pound canned plum tomatoes, chopped or 2 pounds yellow, orange or green tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soft brown sugar
Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, chilli, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.
Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 1½ cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.
Add the basil leaves, then whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, to make it smooth and shiny. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.
Spoon the ketchup through a sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles, then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the fridge until needed.