I always say that I love recipes that take at least three days to complete. Think: mole; homemade turkey stock; sourdough bread; pandoro. The more time-consuming and labor-intensive, the better. I even say as much in my little blog manifesto. Convenience is not my thing. I might have some kind of an illness. Please don't judge me.
It is in such a context, then, that my head nearly a'sploded when I saw a recipe for barbecue sauce that called for homemade coffee liqueur. After its ingredients are mixed together, the homemade coffee liqueur takes at least a month to mature, sitting on cool, dark shelf, allowing its component parts to mingle and become awesome. When I began making the liqueur early last December, I actually thought to myself, "Bitchin'. I can have homemade crispy chicken nuggets with coffee-liqueur barbecue sauce in February." And this thought was appealing to me.
As I said, some sort of illness.
Anyway. I realize that you can just use Kahlua to make the barbecue sauce, and that way you can have a finished product a mere hour after you decide to make it. That is a completely reasonable route to take. But if you're like me and you like to imagine what you'll dip nuggets into long after winter is gone and the tulips are blooming, you've come to the right place.
This sauce is dynamite: multi-layered, spicy, sweet, boozy, onion-y. It has depth: the depth that a food should have that was several months in the making. We've really enjoyed it over the past few nights as a dipping sauce for the aforementioned crispy chicken nuggets, which come from Cook's Country and are so good that you will not be able to stop thinking about them (I'm not exaggerating). Of course this barbecue sauce has a million applications that don't involve dipping: baste grilled chicken with it, use it to enliven an everyday turkey sandwich, eat it with a spoon.
As for the remaining homemade coffee liqueur: you can always invite Husband over. He loves "Caucasians." He'll finish it off for you in no time.
Coffee Liqueur Barbecue Sauce + Homemade Coffee Liqueur
Adapted from Southern Living
A note about ingredients: the homemade coffee liqueur recipe calls for two tablespoons of chocolate liqueur (a la Godiva). If you don't want to buy a whole bottle for two tablespoons, do what I did: ask your favorite bartender or server for a shot from behind the bar. Maybe it says something about me and my relationship with food service professionals, but I had no qualms about asking our favorite Saturday morning breakfast waitress Becky for a shot and she didn't even charge me. Never mind that the people at the next table wondered why I was asking for chocolate liqueur at 8:15 a.m. They can judge all they want.
Another note: the barbecue sauce recipe only makes about one cup of sauce. Frankly, that is not enough. I recommend doubling it; it will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a week.
For the homemade coffee liqueur:
4 c. sugar
1/4 c. instant espresso
2 c. vodka
2 T. chocolate liqueur (optional)
1 8-inch vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, then whisk in sugar and instant espresso, whisking until completely dissolved. Let cool 10 minutes.
Stir in the vodka and chocolate liqueur (if desired), whisking until well-blended. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart glass bottle (or any glass bottle that's large enough and has a lid). Cover tightly with the lid and shake thoroughly.
Let stand in a cool, dark place at least one month, shaking at least once weekly.
After one month, you are ready to make barbecue sauce. Rejoice! This process has taught you the beauty of patience and anticipation.
Makes 6 cups of liqueur.
For the coffee liqueur barbecue sauce:
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 c. homemade coffee liqueur (recipe above; store-bought coffee liqueur may be substituted)
1/4 c. red onion, finely chopped
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 t. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 or 6 minutes. Cool completely before serving (about 30 minutes).
Makes 1 cup of barbecue sauce.
Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:
One year ago: layered chocolate fudge cake
Two years ago: baklava
Three years ago: tomato sauce di Piazza Sant'Eulalia