When we initially came-up with the idea to make Worcestershire sauce we had no idea the recipe was something that took 4 hours. We paused at this information, but decided to go ahead and set this as our next grandma club activity for one reason: This recipe is from the chef at Big Jones. Donovan claims this is the best Southern food she's tasted in Chicago and Cinnamon can't stop talking about how good the food is (I have yet to experience Big Jones), so we decided to make a full day of it.
There is a lot of chopping and skimming of foam involved, but there was four of us (my friend Katie joined us), which made for easy and quick work. Here is the recipe, courtesy of Big Jones. (Thanks for letting us share it!)
Yields 3 quarts
· 1 Tablespoon corn oil
· 12 ounces fresh horseradish, peeled and coarsely chopped
· 4 pounds Spanish onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
· 2 lbs mushrooms, coarsely chopped (portobellos are best)
· 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
· 3 ounces garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
· 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
· 2 quarts cold water
· 1 gallon distilled white vinegar
· 2 quarts amber sorghum, or dark corn syrup
· 2 ounces anchovies packed in oil
· 1 Tablespoon allspice berries
· 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
· 8 bay leaves
· 4 tablespoons kosher salt
· 2 lemons, peeled and chopped
· 14 ounces wet tamarind (one block,) crumbled
In a large stockpot, heat the corn oil to smoking. Carefully but quickly add the horseradish and onions, and sauté over high heat, stirring often, until lightly caramelized to an amber color.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the surface of all foam and films throughout the cooking. Once boiling, reduce heat to low boil and boil, stirring occasionally, for four hours.
Will keep indefinitely refrigerated in an airtight container.
Some notes about the above recipe:
· Tamarind can easily be found in an Indian grocery shop.
· Notice the yield - 3 quarts. This will make A LOT of sauce. It is best to do with with a group to make the work easier and so you can split up the end result. Either that, or plan to give this away as gifts. Even though this sauce lasts indefinitely, a little goes a long way.
· Your kitchen will smell weird. Your clothes will smell like steak. The vinegar stews for those four hours, basically pickling your entire kitchen. I don't mind the smell on my clothes at all, but the vinegar fumes did make my eyes water from time to time.
Some history on the sauce:
The sauce was originally a formulation of a nobleman who spent some time in India. He fell in love with this sauce and reproduced it back home in Britain in a shire he owned. John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins approached the nobleman to purchase the sauce recipe from him to produce commercially. The nobleman laughed at their idea, saying no one would purchase sauce when they could just make it themselves and sold the recipe for cheap. Years later, Lea & Perrins had their popular sauce in groceries and markets.
We had four hours to kill while the sauce was doing its thing, so we decided to work on a puzzle. (This one with an illustration by Edward Gorey.) We finished the sauce before we finished the puzzle, but by gum we finished that puzzle between the four of us! We had a lot of fun being super grannies the whole day and ended up with a great kitchen staple.