I cannot imagine many things more hipster than artisanal ketchup. Then again, I do love ketchup. Then again again, can I really endorse a product whose website uses a handlebar mustache as its favicon?
I’ve never actually tried artisanal ketchup, but I think I may have just accidentally made some myself. You see, SLP and I stopped by Everett’s today, and ended up walking out with a take-and-bake “mom’s meatloaf.” I figured a meatloaf like that needed a proper tomato sauce to go with it, not just a few squirts of Heinz, but I couldn’t find a recipe to my liking. So, I just decided to wing it with ingredients I had on hand. I realized as I was cooking my sauce that it was drifting dangerously close to artisanal ketchup territory, but nonetheless I went for it. The end result was good. A great complement to the meatloaf, if perhaps not quite sweet enough or thick enough to stand in for real ketchup on something like a (grass-fed) hamburger.
Yes, this recipe is principally comprised of beef broth, so it’s anything but vegetarian. Then again, I made it to put on meatloaf.
Here’s the recipe, as I made it (to the best of my recollection). If you experiment and find a better variant, please let me know in the comments!
Accidental Artisanal Ketchup
1 tsp olive oil
¼ c red onion, chopped
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
2 c beef broth (for thicker sauce use 1 ½ c)
1 tsp brown sugar (or more, to taste)
½ tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Whisk together the tomato paste and beef broth until well blended. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Avoid browning the onions.
Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Stir in the tomato paste-broth mixture. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Don’t put the same spoon back in the pot or you’ll be Chopped.
Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
For a vegetarian option, substitute vegetable broth or water in place of beef broth. If using water, add extra salt.
For a smooth sauce, i.e. to get rid of the chunks of onion, puree after cooking. (And if you don’t know what happens when you put a hot liquid in a blender, you’re on your own.)
Serve hot or cold on whatever you like: meatloaf, burgers, poutine, scrambled eggs, ice cream. It’s all good.
Update: When I made the ketchup a second time, I considerably increased the amount of both red wine vinegar and brown sugar, from 1 tsp each to 1 tbsp each. It was awesome. I’d also suggest adding a dash of either Spanish paprika or cayenne pepper for some extra kick.