There is a magical noise in the far-off land of Texas, one I was delighted to hear on my recent vacation to take my nieces trick-or-treating. My parents and I were staying at my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Houston. We were scattered all over the house, and suddenly roused like a Folger’s commercial by that thrilling sound: it was the rhythmic whir of a food processor. That sound in Texas can only mean one thing: homemade hot sauce!
We came pouring down the stairs and sprinting off the sofa to watch that spicy magic happen in the kitchen. My brother-in-law Clay was using my dad’s recipe, tossing in handfuls of cilantro and juicy canned tomatoes while expertly squeezing in fresh lime juice, and before we knew it the masterpiece was complete. Not even taking time to pour it into a bowl (though taking time to remove that sharp food processor blade, of course) we ripped open a bag of tortilla chips and greedily spooned that vibrantly-flavored hot sauce into our mouths, grinning with each taste.
I do think we Texans might have hot sauce in our blood, because it seems to make everything taste better, from scrambled eggs to pinto beans. I share this beloved recipe with you, and along with it a warning: this hot sauce has a habit of disappearing as rapidly as it’s made. Get those chips ready. (And perhaps a glass of milk, because after endless munching, its delightful heat might get to you!)
Texas Hot Sauce
Makes 4 cups.
1-28 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 a medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon of lime zest and juice of a whole lime
3-4 serrano peppers (they look like diminutive jalapenos and have a great kick — you may want to begin with 2 and work your way up to the heat you desire), roughly chopped seeds and all
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
a small handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Are you ready? This is exceedingly complicated: throw all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender and whir away until well combined but still a little chunky. It’s that simple! Serve with your favorite chips.
Share your beloved recipes with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.