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Ancho Chile Barbecue Sauce

This recipe yields a spicy variation on straight-up all-American BBQ sauce. 
Course: Condiment
Keyword: bar-b-que sauce
Servings: 8 pints

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts ripe tomatoes cored, peel and chopped
  • 2 cups onions chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 4 chile peppers seeded, de-ribbed and finely chopped
  • 2-4 dried ancho peppers stemmed and seeded
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup barley malt syrup or dark corn syrup
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp tabasco-style sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground ancho or red chile pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare canner, lids, and seven 8-oz jars according to the usual method keep jars hot until needed.
  • Toast the dried chiles in a skillet, pressing down gently to flatten and soften, just until they become pliable and fragrant.
  • Combine the tomatoes, onions, bell peppers,  celery, fresh chiles, toasted dried chiles, and garlic in a large, wide Dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the tomatoes broken down, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Press the mixture through a food mill or a sieve — don’t use a blender or food processor here, because you don’t want to introduce air into the mixture. Return the sauce to the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by half and will mound up gently on a spoon, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Tie the peppercorns in a spice bag or tea infusion ball, and add to the mixture in the pan. Add the brown sugar, wine vinegar, malt syrup, salt, paprika, mustard, hot sauce, and ground red chile to the tomato mixture, stirring well after each addition. Simmer gently for 1-1/2 hours, or until the mixture is the consistency of ketchup. You will need to stir more frequently as the sauce thickens, to prevent scorching. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the spice bag. Taste and add additional ground red chile if desired.
  • Using a stainless-steel canning funnel, ladle the sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles using a plastic knife or chopstick, and readjust headspace as needed. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth and center the hot lids on jars. Screw band to fingertip-tight.
  • Place jars in water canner, ensuring they are completely submerged. Bring to a boil and process covered for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid; wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Cool, check seals before storing in a cool, dark place. Can be stored for up to a year.