In my ever continuing journey to both eat unique, seasonal meals as well as cook ahead to make future meals easier I’ve been trying to both relish and enjoy the bounty of summer fresh and sweet, while also preserving some of it for my winter pantry.
Lately, every week or so I have one “Big” cooking day. I make a loaf or two of bread, feed all of my sourdoughs (yes, I have three now.), maybe shred some zucchini for the freezer, and then choose a recipe from one of my preserving books to make up for the pantry while summer produce is plentiful.
I guess you could say that I’m making my own convenience foods when, you know, it’s convenient.
While flipping through a recent read from the library I did a double take. Creole Sauce. As I love all things Southern, Creole Sauce sounded perfect for my next project. A “Charleston” Creole Sauce is not as spicy as traditional Creole Sauce from Louisiana, but perfect for my family as I’m feeding two little boys from the pot as well.
Daddy can always add some hot sauce on top.
As we’re right in the middle of tomato and pepper season, two of the major components of this sauce, I had to make it.
Plus, as this recipe has so much fresh tomato, along with the lemon juice, it creates a sauce that is sufficiently acidified to be safely canned with just a boiling water canner and it does not need to be pressure-canned. Perfect!
I can’t wait to enjoy this on a busy, rainy evening this fall . . . perfect to remind us of summer!
Charleston Creole Sauce
lightly adapted from Putting Up; A year round guide to canning in the Southern Tradition
makes 5 Quarts
- 1 stick butter
- 2 pounds onions, chopped (I used the food process for the chopping – saved me some tears!)
- 1 pound green bell peppers, diced
- 1-1/2 ounces (about 2 medium) jalapenos, seeded, deveined and diced fine
- 1/2 bunch of celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces tomato paste
- 7 pounds tomatoes, halved, squeezed of seeds, and chopped (I used the food processor for the chopping – I just added quartered tomatoes to the bowl in batches to make the job easier)
- 2-1/2 teaspoons picked, fresh thyme, packed tight
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Melt butter in a large pot. Add onions, peppers, celery, garlic and tomato paste and saute until onion is transparent, about 10-15 minutes.
Add remainder of ingredients and bring to a low boil, stirring often. This recipe filled my largest pot.
(And yes, that is a pink, glittery spatula. I think it’s fabulous.)
Allow to cool on a towel, check for seals and store!
Now. Do you want to know what it looks like when you actually eat it?
And, maybe, how to use it?
How gorgeous is this? Stephen Palmer Dowdney, author of Putting Up, has indicated his favorite recipe, which sounds like it is just up my alley as well!
“Fry two pieces of bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and fold in a paper towel to cool. To the remnants in the pan (bacon grease and crackle) add the jar of creole, stirring and mixing well. At the first sign of boiling, reduce the heat, crumble and add the bacon and add 1-1/2 pounds cooked and peeled wile-caught shrimp. Let the shrimp heat only, not cook! Serve over a shallow bed of rice.”
There’s a reason why he writes cookbooks. Doesn’t that just sound scrumptious? Seriously, he had me at “bacon grease.” You could also substitute cooked chicken, add a sliced sausage, the options are endless . . .
This post is written in conjunction with the Summer Fest 2010, the Nourishing Jams, Jellies, Preserves & More 2010 BlogHop.