My homemade tomato sauce isn't something I would have typically chosen to blog about, however, I have decided to do this for my very, very good friend. Kim, you asked for my recipe some time ago, and because I don't actually work from a recipe, I thought it would be harder to put it on paper. Turns out it was actually very easy. I'm not including all these details and pictures because I think you need them (necessarily ha ha!), but because it makes the post more interesting. As usual, I went WAY over board with my camera, but practice makes perfect and taking pictures is the funnest part for me. So, here you go.
Ingredients for Tomato Sauce:
1 T. olive oil
One medium sized onion (finely chopped)
2 stalks of celery (finely chopped)
3 medium carrots (super finely chopped)
2 cups of chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
4 x 28 ounce cans of Italian tomatoes
kosher salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, coarsely chopped (optional)
I STRONGLY recommend using a food processor for this. Do you have a regular sized one or are you still using that little mini one I gave you? If you're still using that one...this will take some time, as you will have to chop everything in little batches, but that's okay.
Coarsely chop your onion and then spin it through your food processor a few times until you get a fine chop. Be careful not to over process, or you will wind up with onion slime and that's just yucky.
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, over medium heat. Add onion. While onion is cooking, process the carrots and celery in the processor, you want these slightly finer than the onion.
Add the carrots and celery to the onion. Season lightly with kosher salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are softened. Be careful not to carmelize the onions (if they are cooking too fast while you're chopping the carrots and onion, lower your heat).
Once the vegetables look soft, (it won't take long when they're diced so small), add the chicken stock and garlic to the pot.
Mixture will look very soupy at this point, boil it softly until the liquid reduces by about 2/3's. While cooking, start processing the whole tomatoes and their liquid into a sauce. You can leave them slightly chunky if you prefer a chunkier sauce. When the vegetables have reduced enough, add the tomato sauce.
Simmer on low for 2 to 3 hours. Taste a couple of times to adjust your seasonings. Once you've got the consistency you like, (personally, I don't like a really thick sauce, I prefer it to be slightly 'loose'), you can add the chopped basil, if using. Turn off burner and cool.
As you may have noticed, I completely forgot to add my fresh basil, but the tomatoes that I use have whole basil leaves in the can so I wasn't too upset about it. Because I pureed the tomatoes, you can't see the flecks of green basil, so I really urge you to add fresh basil when you do it.
I special order my tomatoes through my good friend, Rob, who has "connections". These tomatoes are amazing, but since not everyone has a friend like Rob, I've notice large cans similar to this at Costco. I use just the one can, but if you can't get a hold of a large can, the 4 28 ounce cans are fine.
Final words of advice: invest in a dozen mason jars from your local grocery store. It makes it so much easier to freeze your sauce in small portions. Don't fill the jars too high, the sauce expands slightly when frozen and you will either warp the lid or crack the jar. (I've done both.)
Once you have your sauce in jars, just leave it on the counter until it's reached room temperature before freezing. The jars will crack if put in freezer when warm. Yes, this is also from experience.
My cooking tutorial is complete. Let me know how this works out for you.