After sharing recipes typically craved during the hot summer months in my previous posts (I hope some people in the Southern hemisphere will take advantage of them right now!), I started longing to get some fresh produce from my garden, but just by looking out of my backdoor at the austere scene in my backyard (photo above), it became quite clear that it would not be the case today. I was encouraged at the supermarket, though, when I saw plump tomatoes grown in Canada; Holy hot house! This technology continues to extend the growing season for many vegetables. I promptly bought some and, back at home, I gathered a few ingredients from my last backyard harvest; I found a few pearl onions, garlic and a dry red hot pepper:
This ensemble was begging to be cooked in a Mexican sauce, and it served as inspiration to prepare a batch of my classic Red Spicy Sauce (Click here for printable recipe). The only differences were that the hot pepper needed to be re-hydrated, and I also decided to add a scoop of tomato paste, to brighten up the pale red tone of the sauce from using winter tomatoes.
(Winter) Red Spicy Sauce
2 large tomatoes; stem end removed, cut into chunks
1 small onion (or about 1/2 cup pearl onions); peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 cloves garlic; peeled
Fresh red hot peppers, to taste (such as de árbol, Thai hot, Habanero, etc.) or dry and rehydrated in 1/4 cup boiling water; stems removed
½ tsp salt, or to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Winter add-in: 2 tbsp tomato paste
Place tomato and onion chunks, garlic, de-stemmed hot peppers (including water used for soaking if from dry), and salt in a blender jar (photo below, left); process until smooth. In a sauce pan, warm up oil over medium heat. Pour blended mix; it should sizzle as it touches the hot oil (photo below, right):
Add tomato paste and stir to dissolve:
Continue simmering to thicken the sauce, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with more salt, as needed. Notice the change in colour with the addition of tomato paste. This also provided an extra punch of flavour and a better developed seasoning.
I will use this bright red sauce as part of the dish featured in my next post.