10 August 2009

Garden Tomato Sauce

The farm stand around the corner from my house was having a sale. 1/2 a peck of tomatoes for $4.95. How could I pass it up? So I carted home my peck of tomatoes (at that price, I totally bought 2) and then contemplated what the heck to do with a peck of tomatoes! And then I set about thinking what I ate a lot of that involved tomatoes, and came up with a solution that had everything going for it. During the winter here in Michigan I tend to eat a lot of pasta because it's quick and filling and generally warm. And I like my pasta with tomato sauce because it's a little bite of sunshine when sun is in short supply. So I set about making my tomatoes into sauce to go into my freezer until I am desperate for a mental trip back to August.

What You'll Need -

9 tomatoes chunked (leave the seeds and skins intact)
3 medium onions, diced
10 cloves of garlic, minced (ok, I really like garlic, but you can cut back to taste)
2 small poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
any other garden veggies that you need to use up (zucchini, green peppers, etc...) diced
3 sprigs of basil, stripped and chopped
1 cup of good red wine
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
olive oil

Turn the burner on medium heat and in a large stock pot heat the olive oil (enough to coat the bottom) until it shimmers in the pan. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, any peppers or other veggies (Not the tomatoes), the basil and cook until soft.


Add the vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pot getting up all of the good bits at the bottom. Let everything simmer lightly in the vinegar so that it soaks it all up. The vinegar is going to brighten up the sauce and play up the sweetness of the tomatoes. At this point I like to add the sugar, salt, and pepper and stir so all of the veggies are evenly coated. Add the tomatoes, wine and tomato juice stirring to combine.


Put the lid on the stock pot, turn the burner down to low so that the sauce is barely simmering and walk away. If you are feeling particularly responsible you can clean up the kitchen (you are done with the intensive prep work now) but I grabbed the trashy romance novel that I was in the middle of and plopped down on the couch where I could see the stove and chilled out for a while. In about half an hour (if it's longer it's not really going to suffer at this point, you'll just need to add more liquid) take the pot off the heat. We've now reached the point where my husband and I disagree. I really like chunky sauces, he likes them smoother. This batch got smoothed out with an immersion blender because I wasn't home to bicker with him, but this is not a necessary step. If you are going to enjoy immediately, you're done! If you are going to keep it for a bit let it cool on your counter for about an hour. After that hour, put the sauce in the refrigerator and leave it overnight to cool completely. Seal in appropriate containers (we have a vacuum sealer so we made up 2 cup bags) and freeze. Use in 4 to 6 months for best flavor. This makes approximately 8 cups of tomato sauce.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other 20 tomatoes I have left!

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