Steve’s grandmother’s maiden name is Ghilain, a spelling that was probably mangled by US census takers because it changes as you go back generations. Her grandfather was a John Guillan who lived near Dundee around 1827. We don’t know much more about the family except that John was a farmer/butcher known for his skill in curing pork.
Anyway, I love the woman dearly, but since she’s not much of a cook. (Seriously, she’s famous for spaghetti ala Grandma which entails adding hamburger and onions to FrancoAmerican spaghetti.) So I assume that this recipe is probably great-grandmother’s.
I doubt it goes further back than that, because I don’t think it’s a particularly UK-ish type sauce. Although chili sauce and A1 sauce are similar to the brown sauce they use in the UK as a condiment. In Edinburgh, they thin it down with malt vinegar and serve it on fish and chips. Basically you use any of them way you would ketchup.
I don’t like ketchup, but I do like this because its tangier. Steve really likes it on the black-eyed peas we make for New Year’s Eve. I have tweaked it ever so slightly (I can’t help myself) because I use fresh ginger and cayenne, but other than that I’ve left it alone.
1 peck of tomatoes (around 13 lbs of tomatoes)
2 cups ground onions
1 cup bell peppers
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne flakes (I use a bit of freshly chopped)
1 tsp allspice
3 teaspoons cinnamon chips
1 teaspoon cloves
I begin this recipe by processing the peck of tomatoes the same way I would for plain tomato sauce, I cut off the stems and any bad spots. I weigh mine after I do this, so I only used 12 pounds.
Then I put them in a stainless-steel pot with 2 cups of water and I heat them over medium heat until they are quite liquid. Then I put them through our food mill.
I still don’t know about this contraption, I think I like my food mill better. I only get it out for large batches. If you use one of these things, run the pulp it spits out as waste through a few times to make sure you are getting everything.
Once I have the proto-sauce made, I put it in my stainless-steel brew pot with a thick bottom. Grandma’s recipe called for tying the herbs up in a bundle, so I grind them up just a bit and put them in a muslin hops bag and tie it to the handle like this.
Then chop of the other vegetables and add them. You just simmer this until it has reduced to about half. I am not going to mislead you, this takes a long time. Think of it as a tomato decoction, and while simmering them for this long does vitamin C content, it raises the amount of bio-available lycopene and other antioxidants, substantially.
Ladle the sauce into sterilized pint jars. Process with hot water bath method for 10 minutes. This should boil down to about 7 pints of sauce.