One of our favorite finds at the Global Food & Style Expo in Chicago last month was agave nectar ketchup. We have a weakness for the sweet and tart classic sauce, but it's typically loaded with high fructose corn syrup, so we were thrilled to taste more naturally sweetened varieties from Wholemato and Organicville. We've since found the traditional version too sweet and candy-like.
We haven't yet found either brand in any local stores, however, and decided to try making our own, just in time for Memorial Day cookouts.
This Gourmet recipe served as a good guide and we simply swapped out the brown sugar for a combination of agave nectar and molasses. We also made a few spicier variations (more on that below), all of which were good, but the plain version was the favorite – the molasses and vinegar flavors really came through and proved rather addictive.
While certainly more time consuming than opening a bottle, this homemade version is a special treat and would make a great addition to a Memorial Day barbecue. Although here in Chicago, even this ketchup won't be going anywhere near the hot dogs.
Homemade Agave Nectar Ketchup (adapted from Gourmet) about 2 cups
1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup agave nectar 1 tablespoon molasses 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in large, heavy pan. Sauté onions until soft, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, puree tomatoes in a blender.
When onions are soft, add tomato puree and remaining ingredients. Simmer for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Once mixture has cooled slightly, puree in batches. Cool for 2 hours before serving.
Makes approximately 2 cups and will keep for up to 3 weeks if refrigerated in well-sealed container.
Variations: • Toast 1 or 2 dried ancho chile peppers. Remove seeds, roughly chop and add to mixture before simmering. Peppers will soften and puree with other ingredients. • Add 2 teaspoons of hot smoked paprika before simmering. • Grate a 1-inch piece of ginger and sauté with onions. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Sriracha with remaining ingredients.