Start to Finish: 1 hour
Servings: 6 to 8
It's tough to improve on a classic, but not to recreate one. This from-scratch version of A.1. Thick & Hearty has the tangy zip and consistency of the original, and most of the ingredients -- except xanthan gum, corn syrup and preservatives. Homemade A.1. doesn't have the shelf life of the bottled original, but with its fresh, homemade flavor, you won't want to keep it put up for long.
- 4 medium plum tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 Spanish onion, sliced
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup orange juice with pulp
- 1/4 cup sultanas or golden raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 to 4 grinds of black peppercorns
- Pinch of kosher salt
Heat the oven to 400 F. Cut off the stems and slice the tomatoes in half crosswise. Scoop the seeds from the tomatoes and discard them.
Coat the tomatoes, garlic and onion with a thin layer of olive oil and place them in a shallow baking dish. Roast the vegetables until reduced and caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Take the vegetables from the oven. Peel the skins from the tomatoes and discard them. Add the vegetables to a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Caramel coloring: Mix the brown sugar and water in a separate saucepan on the stove. Cook the sugar and water over medium heat until it turns dark brown and has a syrupy consistency, about 7 minutes. Set the saucepan of caramel color aside.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, orange juice, sultanas, chili powder, Dijon, pepper and salt to the original saucepan. Set the heat to medium-low.
Cook the sauce ingredients for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Puree the sauce using an immersion blender until smooth.
Cook the sauce for another 5 minutes, or until it reaches the desired thickness.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of the caramel coloring and taste the sauce. If you want the sauce a bit darker and sweeter, add more caramel coloring. Adjust the seasoning to taste with kosher salt.
Let the sauce cool and transfer it to a storage container. Allow the sauce to sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours before serving; this gives the flavors time to meld and mature. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container.
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A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.