Habanero Hot Sauce
courtesy of Rick Bayless
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 medium carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
12 medium orange habanero chiles, stemmed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Roast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat, turning regularly until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and peel.
In a small saucepan, combine the carrot, onion and habanero chiles with the vinegar and 1 cup water. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots are thoroughly tender, about 10 minutes. Pour into a blender jar, add the roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth.
If the hot sauce is too thick, add additional water. If it is too thin, blanch and peel a medium tomato and blend into the sauce.
Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Pour into jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator.
makes about 2 cups
This isn’t just “burn your face off” sauce. It has depth. The roasted garlic, in particular, really shines through. The first time I put the sauce on something was that taco above and I was so pleasantly surprised with how rich the flavor was and how little my mouth burned when I was done. I’ve always been a chile head, but only when I learned to value complexity, as opposed to just heat heat heat, did I truly start to appreciate how awesome chile love could be.
The first time I made this recipe I tripled it based on the fact that I bought a basket of about three dozen habaneros at the farmer’s market. But then triple the liquid meant the end result was too thin. That’s why I put that note in the recipe above about adding some tomato, if necessary. Honestly? I encourage you to do it anyway. It thickens it only slightly, but the extra sweetness and tang it adds really, really works. If you make a batch x8, as I did recently, add two or three tomatoes. Mix of red and yellow ones, if you can get ’em.