Monday, September 2, 2013

Roasted tomato sauce II

This summer has been all about the roasted tomato sauce. So far I have cooked and frozen around 20 quarts, and the season isn't over yet.

The whole roasting idea started for me back in the fall of 2011, when my friend Joe sent me his wife Joel's recipe for roasted green tomato sauce. My garden was inundated with unripe tomatoes that year and Joe was trying to help me to make use of them all.

Since then I have adapted Joel's basic method to roast all combinations of tomatoes, often fully ripe ones. Every batch is a little different, but all are rich in flavor and delicious. You can see by the picture above that I've been using mostly ripe tomatoes this year, but the beauty of roasting is that it doesn't really matter which ones you use. Any combination of tomatoes that you can get your hands on, at practically any time of year, will work. Best of all, roasting a large batch of fresh sauce at high heat is faster and easier than simmering on a stovetop.

This batch is a pretty big one (I had to use a giant 13.5-quart dutch oven to fit all the garden tomatoes I had on hand), and so you'll need to make adjustments to cooking times and ingredients depending on how much sauce you're actually making. But don't worry. Play around and experiment as much as you want, because it's really pretty hard to screw up a roasted sauce.

Just core the tops off all of your tomatoes.

Slice off the bottoms too.

Then cut the tomatoes into pieces like this. (I don't peel the skins, if you were wondering, nor do I clean out the seeds.)

In a dutch oven saute some chopped garlic, onion, carrots, celery, hot pepper if you like, plus plenty of fresh herbs. I used rosemary, oregano, thyme and marjoram for this batch. Don't be shy with the olive oil; the more of it the better as far as I'm concerned. Oh, and I'm not shy with the garlic either; there are around 10 cloves in here. (There are also four carrots, four celery stalks and a huge red onion, but as I said, play around and adjust at will.)

I've been making sauce both with and without different types of meats this summer. In this batch I added two pounds of ground pork after the vegetables and herbs had softened, then let the pork brown a bit before moving on to the next step. (You can use beef or veal instead of pork; or, for a plain tomato sauce, just skip the meat altogether.)

Next step is to add in the tomatoes, stir it all up, cover and toss into an oven that's been preheated to 450 degrees F.

At this point the amount of sauce you're making will determine the cooking time. This batch of tomatoes nearly filled my 13.5-quart dutch oven, and so I waited a full hour before removing the cover for the remaining time it took the sauce to cook.

About an hour and a half later (2 1/2 hours total cooking time) the sauce was done.

Once it had cooled I doled it out into sturdy plastic containers for freezing.

As I said, I'm at 20 frozen quarts and counting at the moment, and I'm betting that I'll wind up with a dozen more. Which is to say that, should you find yourself in my nabe at any point during the coming Maine winter, give a knock on the door. Who knows, I may be in a generous mood.

Just bring along something red of your own to go with. If you catch my drift.


3M said...

Yum! We purchased a new stand up freezer just for things like this. Since we recently moved back to Texas in July, I did not have a garden this year but you can bet your sweet potatoes I'll have a big one next year and I am saving this post to Pinterest. Thanks for the great recipes - please keep em' coming.

Anonymous said...

Looks like something I would love to try at some point. Thanks so much for such good directions.


Bites from life with the barking lot said...

Looks great! I'm hoping my green tomatoes get at least a blush of red....

Anonymous said...

Maine is too far to drive for a taste but thanks for the wonderful instructions. I read a bit back about your figs. I was mad because our figs had not yet ripened. We are in Fig Mode right now. Been dehydrating them everyday plus pounds in the freezer to make preserves. We have 12 trees, 8 varieties and more trees started.

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

I'm making this today. Do you have any idea how many cherry tomatoes it takes to look like I have enough tomatoes? (That's what we have a billion of right now.)

I'm slivering off the stem end and slicing them in half. But first I have to wash and dry each of them because DH who plants the garden doesn't use mulch or keep up with staking, so many (most) of them are dirty. Very. Also, he put them in a dirty bucket when picking. (Takes moment to compose self because DH is a good guy who does lots of other things completely wonderfully. :))

I didn't read your instructions correctly and browned the ground beef before adding to my veggies, but I continued browning the already browned meat in the veggie mix so I could get back on track. :) After all, I had lots of softening/browning time left to kill anyway while I spent HOURS preparing the cherry tomatoes.

Will let you know how it turns out. Hope it gets thick enough without tomato paste or sauce. We'll see.

Thanks, Meatball. Relentless pursuit!

Leia said...

I have made this twice. Once with all the herbs and veggies I like. It was killer good. Made it last night, but being tired and lazy I did not add anything but fresh garlic to the tomatoes. Still tasty but without the complexity of the veggie/herb concoction.
Now my big question, what do I use to clean my Corningware casserole dish with?? It is so caked with cooked on tomato.
I love this blog!!

Rog L said...

Made this last year and it was fantastic. Made it this year with lots of veggies plus the tomatoes. Was overrun with grape tomatoes and just tossed them in. Have two dutch ovens going now. Made a batch using spicy chicken sausage, too. Can't wait to see how that turns out. Thank you (and Joel) for this fabulous recipe!

Mister Meatball said...

So glad you liked it. Thanks for checking in.