This year I grew one habanero plant so that I could try my hand at making some hot sauce for JP. I harvested the plant yesterday morning from the Hoophouse, after waking up to an official hard frost. Personally, I'm scared of spicy foods, but I do love to cook most anything from the garden. After searching the depths of the internet, I settled on this modified recipe as it called for our own carrots and onions along with the peppers. We tried it out last night atop braised greens on black bean quesadillas, which hit the spot after a long day of yard work. I can tell we'll use this recipe many times over the winter.
Please wear gloves, then wash your hands, scrub your fingernails, wash your clothes, clean the counter, cutting board, and knife ASAP; these peppers are dangerous! In fact, I recommend making this sauce with someone you hardly know, so that you will be self conscious enough not to pick your nose. Just in case.
Habanero Hot Sauce (adapted from recipes at pepperfool.com & roadfood.com forum)
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp salt
2 - 3 T honey
1 cup chopped habanero chiles, about 12 chiles
Boil all the ingredients, except for the habaneros, in a saucepan for 12 minutes or until the carrots are soft. If you cook too long, you'll dull the color of the carrots - guess who learned that the hard way? (Adjust the heat by adding fewer habaneros not by increasing the carrots, as this can alter the flavor.)
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Strain for a smoother sauce.
Pour into sterilized jars and top with sterilized lids & bands. You could refrigerate or process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes - I chose to leave things as they were, as I believe that the lime juice, vinegar and habaneros will keep bacteria at bay on their own.
This sauce is a straight hot sauce, which is great for JP and the deathwish of his tastebuds. Often times, when I make sauces and soups, I consider them a base for a variety of future recipes. In this case, I also tried making a more complex sauce for the quesadilla, thickened with nuts and flavored with cumin and allspice. Although the basic idea is for a Mexican style mole of sorts, the flavors also recall Tunisian carrots, especially with the addition of cilantro at the end.
Tunisian Carrot Mole
1 cup carrot juice
2 tbsp habanero hot sauce
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 pitted date, soaked in hot water
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp allspice
dash sea salt
apple cider vinegar (to taste)
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
While toasting the seeds and nuts, and soaking the date in hot water, warm the carrot juice in a small pan over medium heat. Skim off any foam and pour into a blender or food processor. Add the all other ingredients, leaving out the vinegar and cilantro. After the sauce as been pureed, pour it into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. If you plan to freeze or refrigerate any extra, leave out the cilantro and add before serving.