Homemade Hot Sauce

I'm not one for spicy foods normally. It's like self-inflicting pain that I'm just not normally one to be a part of. I've gotten more accepting of "hot salsas" but the idea of spicy Indian food or the equivalent isn't exactly in my "taste palate wheel house". Is a "taste palate wheel house" a thing?

BUT, a few weeks ago when I was at my friend Anna's I learned about homemade hot sauce. I saw all these hot peppers in her garden and asked what they did with them... answer is hot sauce. Genius. Especially for someone like myself who had access to a whole lot of hot peppers of about a million varieties because of my dad's very fertile garden. Seriously, I have no idea what half these peppers are so I had to google "types of hot peppers" and try to match them up.

It took me nearly two weeks to get my act in gear to make hot sauce... but that isn't because it's hard... because it isn't in the least. Making hot sauce is almost as easy as making pesto ... but with the additional roasting step. Peeling the skin from the bell peppers isn't super cute but it also isn't hard. A few weeks ago I made a Vietnamese salad and as a result couldn't wear contacts for nearly a week... so this time I made sure I purchased some latex gloves from the hardware store in advance. It was a great 86 cent investment.

It's almost silly to even say it at this point... but I like recipes that aren't really specific and are more of a blank canvas. This hot sauce recipe is very much that. You can use whatever type of hot peppers you have... just follow the essence of the recipe which is to roast them and then blend them. I still have about a dozen jalapenos in my fridge so I'll be making this again but it'll be a smidge less spicy given my new knowledge about spice. Also like many things that I make in my kitchen, I'll end up giving most of it away as well... but that's what makes me happy.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat your oven to 425 ºF.

(Step 2) Place the bell peppers and hot peppers onto a lipped metal oven-safe pan. Remove the papery outside of the garlic bulb and slice of the top (opposite the root) to expose just the tops of the garlic cloves. Drizzle bulb with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and wrap loosely in foil. 
(Step 3) Roast in oven until the hot peppers are wilted and garlic is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove garlic and habaneros and let cool. Once cool remove the stems and seeds from the habaneros and the garlic cloves from the bulb.
(Step 4) Continue to roast the red peppers until the skin separates easily from the pepper, about 20 more minutes, flipping often to prevent burning and uneven cooking. Let cool, remove the stems and skin and discard.

(Step 5) Once all the peppers and garlic are roasted, place into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, except for the water. Pulse to your hearts content.... or until smooth-ish. 
(Step 6) Add the water to thin the hot sauce and mix in well. Put in a sealed container and store in fridge.

Shopping List
3 large red bell peppers
7 Hot peppers 
1 bulb garlic
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water

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