Ketchup rides the flavor elevator

  • Tue Aug 14th, 2012 4:32pm
  • Life

By Judyrae Kruse Herald columnist

Aaah, ketchup. Everybody eats it, whether or not they actually know it.

Those who wouldn’t think of using a dib or dab, let alone an immense splotch with this, that or the other, still woof it up in various dressings and sauces, not to mention soups and stews enhanced with a spoonful or two.

A bottle of plain old ketchup, straight off the grocery-store shelf, can and does work miracles. Most likely, then, those of us in the “BIG ketchup eater” category might love to jack it up a few notches. In which case, today we have two ways to do just that.

One’s a quick fix using bottled ketchup, while the other is a from-scratch homemade concoction. But it, too, is fairly fast from start to finish, starting with a simple stir-together of ingredients, then a short bit of stovetop simmering.

Then, to go with that pair of dandies provided by the folks at Spice Islands, we turn to another sure-fire, snapped-up take, from our friends at Weber sauces and seasonings, for that marriage in heaven, beer and brats.

Incidentally, Thursday is National Bratwurst Day, so let’s get the necessary groceries, get busy in the kitchen, and we’ll be all set to enjoy a super supper tomorrow (or any other) night.

Chipotle ketchup

1 cup ketchup

11/2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile powder

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the ketchup and chipotle powder together. Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 15 minutes to let flavors fully develop.

Asian ketchup

2 (15 ounce) cans good-quality tomato sauce

1/2 sweet onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Dash cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, mixing well, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly (covering with a splatter screen will help keep cooktop clean).

Puree mixture in a blender or food processor, and then, if desired, strain if a smoother texture is desired.

Store refrigerated in a clean, lidded container. Keeps for 1 to 2 months.

Smokey brats and beer

24 ounces (2 bottles or cans) beer or water

2 tablespoons smokey mesquite seasoning

6 (1-11/2 pounds) bratwurst

6 buns

1 pound sauerkraut, drained

1 teaspoon smokey mesquite seasoning

In a medium saucepan, combine the beer or water and 2 tablespoons smokey mesquite seasoning. Add the bratwurst, cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 20 minutes before grilling or refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Drain bratwurst. Grill 8 to 10 minutes over medium direct heat until bratwurst is browned and cooked through to at least 140 degrees. Serve on bun and top with seasoned sauerkraut if desired. Makes 6 servings.

To make the sauerkraut, combine sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon seasoning in a small saucepan. Heat 10 minutes on low heat until sauerkraut is hot. Serve atop freshly grilled bratwurst.

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