We do not eat meat and thus I must find ways to add depth of flavor so that my sauces will meet the taste my imagination creates. A few odd things that I use are garlic in multiple forms, blackstrap molasses, button mushrooms, and .....the secret ingredient for today......prunes for natural sweetness, the depth that comes from the drying process, a pleasing purpley brown caste to the final product, and thick sumptuous texture.
So here goes, this is my basic BBQ sauce and I will describe how to alter it to fit your taste and style...or if you are low on the style quotient then just go with the recipe, but instead of basic call it Original, that'll get people wondering and expecting something yummy.
BTW, this makes a large quantity, but you can easily cut it in 1/2 or 1/4, just taste and adjust the basic seasonings. It's all in the
12 oz package of dried pitted prunes
1 1/4 cups of boiling water
8 cloves garlic peeled
1 large onion
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons of chopped chipoltes in adobo
1/4 cup dijon mustard, honey, molasses, worsteshire, packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons allspice
3 Tablespoons of paprika (smoked would be awesome)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
all the prune liquid
Pour boiling water over prunes and leave to steep in the bowl for 20-30 minutes.
Chunk up the onion and add along with garlic to full size food processor and run blade until finely chopped.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the last two.
I am not usually this neat and organized with the food processor, but I wanted a cool picture.
Now while the machine is running add the last two ingredients to increase the smoothness of the sauce.
Now find the pan in your cupboard that is just barely the right size as I have done here (see final picture for full proof.) It increases the fun, but if you would like life to be slightly easier and of course less messy...not that I know much about that...please use a bigger pan.
Turn on to medium low heat and add 10 small cans (6 oz) of tomato paste or 5 (12 oz) cans or 3 (18 oz) plus one 6 oz can. (tomato paste has a raw, undeveloped taste that begs for a bit of cooking...in addition facilitates the digestion of the lycopene)
Cook for a few minutes
Then add all of the contents of the food processor, stirring, and then cook gently on low for 10-15 minutes.
For a more mustard based sauce, double or triple the dijon mustard.
For a sweeter sauce, double the brown sugar and molasses.
For a deep but not sweet sauce, double the molasses.
For a spicy sauce, increase chipoltes to 1/2 cup and add to taste any ground hot pepper
The final sauce bubbling away....yummm, where's my bean burger!!
Yes, this does make quite a large quantity of sauce. I was cooking for a large crowd of 65 people, but I find that in order to have more homemade foods free of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)...try to find a good BBQ sauce without it in your normal store with a reasonable cost. Therefore, I like to make sauces in large quantity because they take time, yet make later cooking of healthy and homemade dishes simple and quick. This sauce freezes well. I personally find a deep freeze essential in maintaining our healthy family. Of course, you could cut all ingredients in half, but if you are getting out your food processor, might as well go for it.
The Compromise: Prunes in your BBQ sauce, yep people might start calling you a nutrition freak
The Sweet Reward: Yummy food that is healthier and one less reason to run to the store during summer grilling.