Ripe and plentiful! These words swirl in my head with the abundance of mid-summer’s bounty and I am almost giddy as I stuff my basket at the markets. Last week I just couldn’t resist a flat of blackberries.
We are living outdoors every moment possible, savoring what is truly the most glorious summer Seattle has experienced in many, many years. That means a long, delicious barbecue season, and since I’m always up for making condiments (I shared my love of homemade condiments here) I decided to get creative and try my hand at a new barbecue sauce using those luscious blackberries.
Fresh blackberries are simmered with a bright splash of cider vinegar, a squeeze of ketchup, some minced garlic and ginger, and a kiss of honey to round it out. At the last minute, I threw in a few grinds of black pepper and a couple shakes of crushed red chile peppers to pump up the spice.
Yes, this is a bold sauce! Vivid violet and viscous, it does indeed have a warm kick which is tempered a bit when spread on chicken or beef before grilling. If your blackberry bushes are bursting, this is a wonderful, savory way to cook with these little gems. Speaking of blackberry bushes, we heard a marvelous bluegrass band play on July 4th called the Blackberry Bushes Stringband. If you’re in the Northwest, I recommend seeing them.
And I have another recommendation for you ... one I’m super excited about! My new favorite cooking show is Kitchen Circus, and it was just released in its entirety on July 16th. Chef Thierry Rautureau, locally nicknamed The Chef in the Hat, is a Seattle celebrity and this show features home cooks competing together in his restaurant kitchen. My lovely friend, Erina, of The Attainable Gourmet is one of the contestants, too! I had the pleasure of seeing some sneak peeks and this is one fun, exciting show. I hope you check it out!
Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
Makes 1 cup
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
A few grinds of black pepper
A few shakes of crushed red chile peppers (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in medium-sized sauce pan, stir and bring to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, gently crushing the berries with the back of a wooden spoon and stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick. When the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat and let cool. The sauce will keep in a covered jar in the fridge for 2 weeks. Brush it on chicken or beef before grilling. Reserve some additional sauce to brush on just before serving, if desired.