I’m sure you’re not the man you want to be. Woman you want to be. Centaur you want to be. Not yet.
You’re on an infinite hunt. Standing in front of an id-trophy case that hasn’t been stocked since you got that participation ribbon in U-8 soccer. You can keep trying to fill that gaping crevasse you refer to as an identity with a career, hobbies, relationships or anything else that gives you a brief respite from your perpetual search of meaning… or you can make this killer Halloween hot sauce.
Be somebody. For God’s sake, it’s time.
The name is “The Monster Mash”. And it’s a graveyard hot flash.
This meanie-in-a-bottle is sneaky in that it starts off with the full flavor of the sweet Hungarian and yellow peppers, traverses with the seasonal, dusky jabs of allspice, cloves and paprika, and then double-crosses you with the divorcee-like vengeance of the habanero. It is freakishly complex, hence the ‘mash’ in monster mash. Yet most of the spices you will find in your own cupboard, unless you are still in a “hot-plate ready” living situation.
- 7 Red Jalapeños (seeded)
- 13 Arbol Chilis (dried, seeded)
- 6 Yellow Chilis (seeded)
- 3 Hungarian Wax Peppers (w/ seeds)
- 4 Habaneros (w/ seeds)
- 6 whole allspice
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2/3 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup dark rum
- 1/2 sweet white onion, diced
- 1 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp corn starch (optional)
- Blender/ Food Processor
- Coffee bean grinder/ fine grinder/ mortar and pestle
- Small-medium pot
- Whisk/ fork
1. Stem & seed the jalapeños, yellow chilis and Arbols.
The Arbols are dried out husks, so cut them in several pieces to drop out all the seeds out (like when you’re trying to get all the cheetoh dust out of the corner of the bag. I know you do it. Don’t pretend like you don’t understand the reference).
Set all the seeds aside, separated by pepper or just in one big heap. Your call, chief.
(***Note: I would advise using some gloves when handling all these peppers. You’re still a man, don’t worry).
2. Stem the Hungarian wax peppers and habaneros, but leave them seeded.
3. Throw all the peppers and onion into a food processor/ blender/ Star Wars trash compactor. Add the vinegar and rum and blend for several minutes, then transfer to puree mode for several minutes, until it has moved away from a salsa quality to a saucier quality.
I gave my loser-ass blender another chance and it ended up coming through. Good job, blender; you’ve been promoted from the practice squad to the starting roster.
4. Crush up the whole cloves and allspice in a coffee grinder or spice mill, and add pour into a bowl. Mix in the mace, pepper, turmeric, paprika, thyme, salt and garlic powder with a small whisk or fork. Refrain from rolling up a dollar bill and snorting this.
5. Resume pureeing the sauce. While it is mixing, pour in the spices a bit at a time. Start with half of the spice mixture and taste. Add the rest of the spices a bit at a time until you’ve reached desired spiciness. Add the liquid smoke and worcestershire sauce during this blending. If you are looking to add a little more heat, grind up the seeds you set aside earlier and incrementally add them during this final blending.
6. Depending on the viscosity of the sauce you are looking for, you may want to thicken it a little. I added 2 tablespoons of corn starch just to give it a little more body. Pretty optional step. The sweet spot is a thickness just shy of crude oil.
7. Pour this hateful brew into a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to break up any sauce floes. The color pre-simmer should be a mandarin-light orange, and by end of simmer it should be a fair darker pumpkin-isn orange, Feel free to throw in a few drops of red and yellow dye to hit the color you’d like.
8. Cool to room temperature and bottle. Serve to your greatest allies and most hated enemies. Watch a kingdom build around you. Relish in your legacy.