Posting the same recipe year after year looks probably weird, but I simply cannot resist presenting once more this extraordinary and surprising strawberry sauce. Last year I invented it for the first time, inspired by the strawberry BBQ sauce recipes I kept on seeing on internet and stripping them down to vinegar, sugar, peppers and strawberries. I was amazed – and still am – at how hot peppers bring out the strawberry flavours. I thought I had preserved enough of the sauce to survive a year, but I was wrong. The tiny jars and bottles were disappearing so quickly, I had to limit myself to a certain amount opened every month. Now that the strawberry season has started I plan to make as many batches as I can manage and make sure I will not be forced to limit my consumption.
I used once more the Peruvian aji panca dried peppers, with their typical, but subtle smoky flavour. I buy them in a small shop selling the US, Mexican and Peruvian food products. Of course, if you cannot get aji panca, use any dried, moderately hot, but preferably whole peppers, without seeds. The taste will be very good too.
The sauce can be used straight away, kept in the fridge for at least a month, frozen practically forever or processed in sealed jars/bottles and kept in the pantry for one-two years. It’s excellent on grilled poultry and pork, on toast, on open sandwiches, with fried/grilled tofu, as a dip for dumplings, spring rolls, vegetables or savoury biscuits…
This time my strawberries were a bit acid, but the sauce was still fabulous. The colour depends on the fruit variety and the vinegar. This time it was particularly dark and I preferred it this way.
Preparation: 45 minutes+jars processing
100 – 150g white sugar
200 ml (white) wine or cider vinegar (mine was 4,5%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 whole dried aji panca peppers without stems and seeds (you can use any kind of dried moderately hot peppers)
Wash the strawberries, remove the caps and stems.
Put all the vinegar and 100g sugar in a pan, add the whole peppers and let them simmer for 10 minutes on a very low heat. Put aside.
Mix the warm liquid in a blender, add the strawberries and salt, mix again. Pour back to the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Check if the sauce is sweet enough and, if necessary, add more sugar (or vinegar if you think it’s too sweet). Let it simmer for 10 more minutes.
/At this point you can (after the sauce has cooled down) either freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year!/
Pour the sauce, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.
Place the cool jars into a big pan, the bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the sauce and don’t forget to mark the date.