I love horseradish, the hotter the better. When you buy it prepared you’re pretty much stuck with what comes in the jar. But it turns out it’s pretty simple to make your own. A knife, a food processor, two ingredients and five minutes later you’re done. Awesome.
Cut off a couple of inches from the end of the horseradish root and peel it.
I’ve seen this recipe done without peeling it first. I’m sure it makes no difference to the flavor, but you can see little brown specs in the finished product. I’ll take an extra minute to peel it. But I’ll do it quickly with a knife, not carefully with a vegetable peeler. The less time you spend handling fresh-cut horseradish root the better.
Now dice the root into chunks small enough to fit comfortably in your food processor.
Put the chunks in the food processor — since I’m using a mini, I had to dice pretty small — and run it until everything is finely chopped.
I’ve seen this done in a blender, but you’d have to make a pretty big batch for that to work well. I like the mini-chopper since I can do just enough for a single meal.
Carefully remove the lid from your food processor.
I’m completely serious about doing this carefully. I’ve seen recoemmndations to only do this outside. I think that’s taking it a bit far, but don’t expect this to just be run-of-the-mill food heat. If you get too close to the horseradish at this point it’s like chemical tear gas. I thought because I didn’t smell anything at arm’s length that I might have gotten a bad root, so I stuck my nose right into the chopper and inhaled deeply. It felt like I’d been punched in the nose. Don’t do that! Learn from my mistake.
The longer you process the root — or even let it rest — without adding vinegar the more heat it will develop. When it’s hot enough for you, pour in just enough vinegar to cover all the root.
Process again to make sure everthing gets coated, then strain the vinegar out using a strainer or simply a paper towel over a bowl. (You might recognize this technique from the pages on rendering tallow and storing bacon fat.)
Once it’s done draining, turn the finished horseradish out and serve with rare roast beef.1 And that’s it.
1 If you think this is foresadowing an upcoming post, you’ve been paying attention. If you just can’t wait, you can check out this earlier post for how to make pot roast. In fact, you might want to use that one anyway, unless you plan on spending 12 hours tending a spit over a fire. Subscribe using the link in the column to the right — you won’t want to miss this one.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.