How stoked were we, one bright spring morning, to share the kitchen with Amanda Pargh of Burn Hot Sauce?! (Answer: very) We remember, way back when, when her partner Chase Atkins worked at the store, and they planted their first crop of peppers, dreaming big. How far they have come since then, those bright, determined young folks; their enterprise grew from the local Farmer’s market stands (still a staple), to our local groceries, and now, some years in, their amazing fermented hot sauce and associated lines of fermented vegetables and spice powders can now be found in select stores all over the Pacific Northwest. They’re living the dream, and the good life, too.
Amanda is an excellent cook, as anyone who’s ever visited the Burn breakfast booth at the Farmer’s Markets must know; it’s always a pleasure to watch her in action in the kitchen, a flurry of chopping and tasting and seasoning, adjusting seasoning on the fly.
The girl is not afraid of butter, or of the fiery heat from hot peppers. The two combined make a wickedly addictive spread, with a luxuriously light texture that belies the richness of the butter. Be generous with the chili butter; it’s worth every delicious calorie. We made a double batch here, with two different kinds of Burn Hot Sauce. The paler sauce is their Habañero Bell, a golden yellow sauce that hits sweet at first, but builds to a slow body heat. The redder sauce is made from Thai Bird peppers, an immediate, full-mouth spicy flavor; different flavors, but both incredibly delicious. Of course, you can make this with your own homemade fermented pepper hot sauce, too, if you’re into that kind of thing. To get the thin consistency of the Burn sauces, run homemade fermented peppers through the blender, then pass the resulting paste through a food mill. You’ll lose volume, but the consistency will be velvety, easy-to-pour, and undiluted by vinegar, brine,or other thinning agents.
To make the chili butter, melt the butter in a small pan.
Peel and smash 6-7 cloves of garlic, and add them to the melting butter. When the butter is melted, remove the butter from heat and allow it to cool slightly as the garlic infuses.
Meanwhile, place 5 pounds of chicken thighs or wings into a pressure cooker with a generous pinch of salt. It never hurts to marinate them ahead of time with pepper and coriander, but omit adding salt until you begin the pressure cooking, so the moisture is retained in the meat.
Pour a cup of water over the chicken, and secure the lid on the pressure canner. Cook until the pressure canner begins to vent, and set the weight at 15 pounds. Cook the chicken thighs at 15 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. (15 minutes for wings). Allow the pressure canner to cool without disturbing the seal, then chill the chicken in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry.
As the chicken cooks, prepare the roasted vegetables. Cut sweet potatoes, potatoes, and other root veg of choice into chunks and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook at 350° F on a sheet pan for 40 minutes or until done. Set the roots aside and allow them to cool slightly when done.
Make the chili butter. Place 4 ounces hot sauce in a blender.
As the blender runs, add the melted butter and garlic cloves. (The butter should not be super hot, but it should be a nice liquid consistency. This cool but still liquid state will retain the probiotic quality of the sauce while making blending simple.) It should emulsify into a beautiful, foamy consistency, which thickens somewhat as it sits and cools. Do not overblend, or the sauce may “break”, as with overprocessed mayonnaise. In this case, it is still delicious and may be used, but you lose the amazing light fluffiness of perfectly whipped chili butter.
Heat a high heat cooking oil to 350° F. Working in batches, fry the chicken until golden, about 2 minutes apiece for thighs.
Set the fried chicken aside to cool for 10 minutes. You want the outer skin to be slightly cooled so that it does not immediately melt the butter in the next step; the interior remains warm and delicious.
In a large serving bowl, toss the chicken with a generous portion of the chili butter, and serve warm.
Toss the roasted potatoes with chili butter, and serve warm.
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