Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Last fall, when the tomatoes were ready to be harvested, you might remember me mentioning something about making and canning tomato sauce. At that point in my "blogging career" I wasn't as into posting recipes as I am now, so I don't believe I posted about how I did that. Anyway, you may also remember that at the time my tomatoes were ready I didn't have a load of time to be spending on canning and preserving. So, bags and bags of whole tomatoes made their way into the freezer.

A few weeks ago, I used my last jar of canned homemade tomato sauce. I almost cried. Since then, I have made a few things using store bought tomato sauce. But you know what they say, once you go homemade, you never go back. That's how the saying goes, isn't it?

On tonight's menu is a recipe that calls for a can of tomato sauce. I debated about whether or not I should just use a can from the pantry. Then I opened my freezer, did a little digging and realized that I still have quite a few frozen tomatoes. Throughout the year, I have been using them in the place of canned diced tomatoes in my cooking. I decided there was no reason why I couldn't make some more tomato sauce with the rest of these maters to get me through until the next harvest.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp EVOO
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp oregano*
1 tsp thyme*
2 tsp Italian spice blend*
6-8 large tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 cubes homemade vegetable broth (I think this is about 1/2 cup)
3 tsp sugar

*Fresh spices would be ideal, but I didn't have any one hand so dried will do.

Place the tomatoes in a hot water to loosen the skins. Mine were frozen, so it took a while but this should make the skins fall off very easily. Once skinned, place tomatoes back in the bowl.

2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Add spices and stir to mix.

3. Meanwhile, mash tomatoes a little bit with a masher. I had let mine sit for a while to begin thawing but if you are working with fresh tomatoes you won't need to worry about that.

4. Add wine vinegar, broth and tomatoes to the pot. Stir and mash some more. Bring to a boil and let cook for 15-20 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and let cool. Once sauce has cooled slightly, use an immersion blender to puree. This can be a messy step, so be careful. If you don't let it cool enough, you might get burnt. Taryn, when I was making this today I was reminded of your tomato soup fiasco as I dodged drops of boiling hot tomato sauce flying at my face.

Makes approximately 6 cups. You can very easily increase or decrease the recipe. In the fall when I was canning, I think I did about 50 tomatoes.

I didn't feel like going through the whole canning process, especially since I only made a small amount this time and will be using some tonight. Instead, I froze the sauce in 2 cup portions in plastic freezer bags.

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