August 25th, 2008

Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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When I’m confronted with an abundance of fruit my first thought is, “Fine, whatever, I’ll make muffins. I can take a hint!” But this isn’t about my first thought, it’s about my second, much more important thought, which is “How the hell do I make a barbecue sauce out of this?”

And so it was with our legions of blueberries. The secret to getting a really nice deep flavor is to cook the sauce down for a good long time. That concentrates all the flavors and makes it lusciously thick like a BBQ sauce should be. I didn’t feel like cheating and using liquid smoke for the smokiness, not this time. Instead, chipotle powder giveth smoke and spice. If you haven’t been knocked over the head enough with this information, chipotle is smoked jalapeno peppers. In this case, they’ve been dried and ground up. I’m not a spicy heat fiend by any measure, but I guess I can handle my own. If you are wimpy then use only two teaspoons, or use smoked paprika, which is milder and also more readily available.

If you haven’t tried chipotle powder, give it a go! I got mine from Penzy’s and I’ve been using it in a variety of dishes; roasted potatoes, chili (well, obviously), scrambled tofu, split pea soup. It’s really been pulling its weight around the kitchen.

Fine, it didn’t photograph all that well. Lay off, it can’t be perfect!

Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 4 cups

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of peeled ginger, minced
2 cups blueberries (I bet raspberries or blackberries would be great, too)
1/2 cup veggie broth or water
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons chipotle powder (smoked paprika would work too)
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
Salt to taste, if needed

Preheat a sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the onions in the oil for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger, saute for a minute more.

Add the blueberries, veggie broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the chipotle, molasses and sugar. Lower heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes, until it’s reduced by about half. It should be nice and thick. Adjust sugar and salt if you need to. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 15 minutes before using, stirring occasionally.

I used the BBQ sauce on tofu and tempeh. For the tofu, I pressed it and dredged in 2 tablespoons peanut oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes, then flip and coat with lots of sauce. Bake for 15 more minutes. Same for the tempeh, only I steamed that for about 10 minutes. I love the way basmati or jasmine rice taste with BBQ sauce, so make me happy and serve rice alongside.

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