In the cookbooks I have read from the 1800’s, ketchup has been a condiment based on just about anything from walnut ketchup to butternut ketchup. The origin of ketchup goes all the way back to 17th-century China, where a zesty pickle brine fish sauce was called ke-tsiap. The sauce made its way to England, where it adapted to the regional cuisine and took on even more varied ingredients, with the addition of anything from mangoes, to grapes, to mushrooms. It wasn’t until after ketchup journeyed to New England, that it gained a tomato base, and became the popular sauce we glaze our fries with.
Mushroom ketchup is more familiar in Great Britain than here, but don’t let that scare you. I lived in England for awhile and these days I can hardly get it online because it’s usually out of stock, I have seen a few recipes but they don’t seem to hit the mark with the thick stuff I’m accustomed to. One recipe from The New Joy Of Cooking describes it as an “English condiment for robust meats and game; is a thin, pungent, deeply flavored sauce.”
The one that I have found that is closely related to the bottled British version comes from a recipe I found in a old Gourmet Magazine from 1948 I used a combination of Cremini and Portabello mushrooms to make mine. It’s wonderful on a juicy steak or stuffed in a chicken breast.
Peel and slice 2 pounds mushrooms and place them in a kettle with 1 cup water and 1 bay leaf.
Cook them for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are quite soft.
Run the mushrooms through a sieve and add to them 1 cup vinegar, 3 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne, ground cloves, and mace.
Cook the mixture for 30 minutes over a moderate fire (medium heat). Cool the ketchup, pour it into bottles, and pressure can.
(Per home canning and USDA instructions for mushrooms, I can it by the pint at 10 pounds for 30 minutes)
Store in a dry cool space for 3-6 months
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Amy Wexler ~
Gourmet Magazine September 1948