Homemade Tomato Ketchup
It takes a considerable number of tomatoes to yield a little ketchup, especially if you're expecting the thick consistency of our favourite brands.
By all means, reduce it way down until you get that familiar texture but a thinner consistency is just as tasty and goes much further at a BBQ. This recipe is simple but does require a few hours of cooking time.
To roast the tomatoes
1.5kg of your finest tomatoes
1 head of garlic
salt and pepper
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons of olive oil
To make your ketchup
½ teaspoon of all spice
½ teaspoon of coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of Sriracha (a spicy Thai sauce available in specialist shops – this is optional but adds a lovely kick)
50g of brown sugar
½ teaspoon of celery salt (adds a distinct flavour but you can substitute with regular salt too)
50ml of white wine vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange in a very large roasting dish, trying not to overlap them. Slice the head of garlic in two and scatter the cloves, unpeeled, in and around the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the thyme leaves and drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Put a large sieve over a large saucepan. Squeeze about 3 tomatoes at a time through the sieve so that their juice flows into the saucepan. The leftover pulp, skins and seeds are still full of flavour and make a lovely snack on toast with garlic and balsamic vinegar so don't throw them away!
Your tomatoes should give about half a litre of smooth sauce. Add the all spice, coriander, cinnamon stick, Sriracha, brown sugar, celery salt, black pepper and white wine vinegar and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour until the sauce is glossy and reduced. It will still be quite thin at this stage but it's ready to serve. You can continue to reduce it by bubbling away over a steady heat until you're happy with the texture.
We find our tomato ketchup tastes best with spicy Merguez sausages cooked on the BBQ, served in a toasted roll and eaten outside.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent