This is a riff on harissa, the (blistering) hot chile paste that is a staple in North African and some Middle Eastern cuisines. This is a kinder, gentler version that still packs a punch. Use it as you would any hot sauce. Keep in any amount of hot pepper seeds and ribs for extra heat if you like.

2 1/2 c coarsely chopped cored and seeded bell peppers
4 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 c chopped onion
1 c coarsely chopped carrot, optional
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
2 – 3 hot peppers, seeded, ribs removed if you like, chopped
1/2 t chili powder or paprika
1 t salt
1/4 c vegetable oil, plus extra for storing

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Put all ingredients in a Dutch oven or covered casserole. Bake for 2 to 3 hours until all the liquid has been absorbed and the peppers are mushy. Stir occasionally, more frequently towards the end of the cooking time.

3. Purée. Put into a (sterilized) jar or other container. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil, then cover with a lid. Refrigerate.