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Remember when I made my own Worcestershire sauce? If not, the post is right here. In it, I said that I would take a picture each week and let you determine whether or not it changed. Pictures will follow, but I want to preemptively alert you to the fact that they are B-O-R-I-N-G. They all look the same from the outside of the jar. However, what I did not fully appreciate after some forgotten time in the refrigerator, was how all of the solids broke down in the concoction. Obviously it did not take very long for the anchovies to disintegrate, but the shallots were a but of a surprise, though I am no scientist.

the original components

day 1, picture 1 - all in a jar

Here you can see the spices fell to the bottom, while the shallots floated to the top.  The whereabouts of the anchovies is undetermined.  Dun dun dun…

two weeks from the start...

Everything has basically sunk to the bottom, thus stressing the importance of a good shake of the jar – daily.

done!

This is a week…two..or three past the due date for straining the sauce.  It could be my poor lighting, or photography skills, perhaps even a mixture of both, but the sauce is far murkier than even I expected.  It does have a delightful (if you’re into this sort of thing, which I am) vinegar smell, despite the disgusting visual…

yuck-o!!!!

I wrapped a double layer of cheesecloth over a small canning jar and emptied the contents of the Worcestershire over it.  This is the gloppy mess of what came out, hough expected, I was rather surprised.

Then I squeezed all of the liquid out of the glob, and was left with this dry sack of nastiness: spices, whatever may remain of the anchovies, and shallot remnants.  It also looked like coffee grounds actually…

clean Worcestershire Sauce

Some spices surely escaped the confines of the cheesecloth, but it is certainly nothing t be worried about – simply more flavor!

According to Cook’s Illustrated (of which, I am finally a proud subscriber), they have a recipe for beef stew in which the author tester and chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt works to achieve a meatier flavor.  To do so, she adds 4 minced anchovy fillets (~2oz, the same amount used in my recipe for this sauce).  She writes that people will usually add ingredients high in glutamate (hello MSG!!!) such as cheese and tomatoes, fish also being one such glutamate rich ingredients.  In making her stew, she added tomato paste and salted pork, but noted that the addition of the anchovies exponentially increased the beefy flavor of her stew!  Based on a bunch of sciency stuff that the good people at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences they found that anchovies may increase meat flavor by 15 fold!!! I think it is clear why fish sauce and or anchovies are a vital inclusion in this homemade Worcestershire Sauce, and something I certainly had never considered before.

Because this sauce needs to be used in meat products and BECAUSE it is freezing in Minneapolis for at least another three months, I have found it difficult to decide on the best way to use my new fancy schmancy New York Timesy Worcestershire Sauce.  I refuse to cannot make burgers in the house, despite owning at least two George Foreman grills.  I decided to move on to the next best ground meat thing…lasagna.  (OK really, I know I need to make a nuclear holocaust supply of meatballs, but lasagna was my first and thus far, only opportunity.)  I had the privilege of using some fantastic ground meat that Nick left over from house sitting, so I am unsure if it was the quality, of the meat, or the fantastic-ness of this sauce, but the pan cooked lasagna meat was so so so good.  It was like…What About Bob good.

Seriously, if the intrigue of making your own condiment, the science, or the What About Bob movie clip doesn’t convince you to make this…well, it’s safer if I just leave you intrigued about the ramifications…

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