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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cowhorn Pepper Sriracha Sauce

My garden this year has been full of surprises.  The cucumber vines are still producing 1 or 2 new cukes a day, and I wasn't even sure if they would grow, the purple bell peppers were a total experiment and there are still a few more juicy peppers in process, and then there are these cowhorn peppers.

I had never heard of this type of pepper before finding them at Home Depot this spring.  I was ready to cook with lots of peppers this year so I thought I would give this variety a try.

The peppers grew nicely, with most of the fully ripened peppers coming in at about 7 inches long.  The tough part was waiting for them to ripen.  It took almost 3 months before the peppers turned a bright red, but it was worth the wait. As it turns out, this is a delicious pepper to include in any recipe that you might want a little heat.  The peppers are spicy and, although not as hot as a jalapeno, they have this bright flavor that just pops.  I will definitely be growing these peppers again next year.

Now on to the pepper sauce!

Sriracha sauce is a slightly spicy chili pepper sauce that has developed quite a following over recent years.  In the past it was used mainly for cooking Asian cuisine but now you can find bottles of Sriracha on restaurant tables and it is easily found in most grocery stores.  The sauce can be used plain as a dipping sauce, and adds a little zest to anything from burgers and soups to scrambled and deviled eggs.  (My favorite is to add a few spoonfuls of the sauce when cooking scrambled eggs, then add some spinach and a dash of cheese...yum!)


The pepper sauce is very easy to make and the peppers only require an overnight stay in a simple brine mixture before being pureed and the sauce is ready to serve.

Peppers and garlic in the brine mixture.

If you don't have cowhorn peppers this bring mixture will work fine with other types of peppers.  This recipe makes 2 small jars of pepper sauce so it will give you an idea of how you want the next batch to taste.  By adding more or less garlic, or choosing a different type of peppers you can create a pepper sauce that is just the right level of heat for your family.  Enjoy!!

5 or 6  Ripe Cowhorn Peppers, coarsely chopped
4 or 5  Garlic Cloves, whole and peeled
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 cup  White Vinegar
2 TB  Sugar

Place all of the ingredients, except the sugar, in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow the peppers to sit at room temperature overnight.

Place the mixture, plus the sugar, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Puree the mixture with an immersion blender until the sauce is as smooth as you would like.  (A regular blender works fine for this step, too.)  You can completely puree the sauce or leave some small bits and pieces of the garlic and peppers.

Deviled Eggs - A few plain for the kids and a few Sriracha Eggs for the adults
Transfer the sauce to glass jars, cover and refrigerate.  The sauce will keep for at least 3 months in the  refrigerator, and probably longer, but we found so many delicious ways to use this sauce it didn't last very long.  Enjoy!!

             
On the left are the purple bell peppers and on the right are the cowhorn peppers.
   

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