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ceejamon
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Ceejamon's "real" tomato sauce

Here's my "real" tomato sauce recipe. It's not that my super simple recipe is FAKE, but this one is just SO much better. I promised this recipe about 2 years ago, and keep neglecting to post it. I hope it lives up to the hype. When tomatoes come into season around here, I'll post a sauce using that instead of canned. This one is hard to categorize. Some say it's a cacciatore, some say its a modified marinara. I just call it a tasty sauce.

You will need:
3 large (28oz) cans whole tomatoes (I prefer organic for this, they tend to be much better than your typical canned tomatoes for some reason)
2 medium onions, diced
1 small bunch of carrots, diced
1 bunch of celery, diced
3 red bell peppers, diced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small jar of capers, drained and rinsed
~ 1 tbl dried basil
~ 1 tbl dried parsley
~ 1 tbl dried oregano
~ 1 tsp crushed red pepper
~1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
~1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/3+ cup sugar, depending on your tastes. extra can be added at the end
~1/2 cup of good red wine
Kosher Salt, Black Pepper Grinder, Plenty of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

~ means about/around. I don't measure much when I make this sauce.



Alright, the first order of business is to drain those tomatoes and save the juice. I do this one can at a time, giving each can plenty of time to drain. You've got lots of chopping to do, so no worries.



Get yourself a big pot, put it on medium low heat, hit it with olive oil, and while it warms start dicing carrots.



Go ahead and add them to your pot, they take a while to soften. Next, hack your onions to tiny little pieces and add them to the pot.



As you can see, I don't bother with a perfect dice. I'm not a stickler for all that. Just as long as the pieces are pretty much the same size, it's all good. By this time, your tomatoes should have drained. Set your tomatoes aside and take the juice. Put it into a smaller pot along with the dried herbs, red pepper flake, vinegars, and sugar. Put it on high heat.



Watch it while you cut up your celery. When you see bubbles, reduce it to a simmer. This will reduce by about 1/2 over time. When it does, by the way, cover and remove it from the heat.



Next, get your red bell peppers cleaned and cut to the same size as all your other veggies. Add those to the pot as well.



Your sweat is well on its way by now. Add your garlic, a heavy pinch of salt, turn it up to medium heat, and continue sweating for about 20 minutes.



Meanwhile, remove the seeds from your tomatoes. It's easy to do with good canned tomatoes. Pop 'em open with your finger and wipe the seeds out with your fingers. Do this over your tomato juice bowl to salvage it. When you're done, strain this juice back into your liquid reduction. It makes a nominal difference, but I don't like to waste.

After the 20 minute mark on the sweat, add the tomatoes and capers.



Warm this through for a minute. While it's doing that, get out a roasting pan and get your oven's broiler going on high.

Transfer the whole pot to your roasting pan, spread it out evenly, and put it in the oven close to the broiler. You're going to broil it for around 30 minutes, checking every 10 to stir. It may take longer; you're looking for some light browning on the tomatoes. Take this time to clean up your kitchen!



Not there yet...



When you finally get the color/caramelization going, transfer the whole mess back into your pot. Put it on medium heat and add your wine. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add your reduction.



Awww, yeah. Taste and add salt - it will certainly need it. Also grind a ton of black pepper in there. If you like it sweeter, you can add extra sugar here. When you get the seasoning right, you have a choice:

Leave it chunky?



Or use an immersion blender to puree it?



You can also go somewhere in the middle, of course. To do this you can use a potato masher or just partially puree it leaving chunks. I went with the full puree this time since I'll be using it for lasagna later on. But for tonight, after all that cooking, what'd I finally make with it?

Pizza! With grilled chicken, prosciutto, and zucchini topped with fontina. Good stuff.



All the leftover sauce (lots of it, too) will be for lasagna some other night soon - I've already posted that recipe here. This sauce keeps well in the fridge. What can you do with it? See my Super-Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe. Hope you guys enjoy this.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:04 AM ceejamon is offline  
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diearzte2
 
Looks good! Why don't you roast the peppers whole before hand and then peel them though?
Old 04-02-2008, 11:17 AM diearzte2 is offline  
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ceejamon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diearzte2 View Post
Looks good! Why don't you roast the peppers whole before hand and then peel them though?

I actually meant to mention this in the post: I've been known to roast the peppers on occasion. It depends on what flavor I'm going for. I like it either way, it's just different. Sometimes if I want to speed this recipe up, I'll buy the jars of roasted red peppers and use those.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:38 AM ceejamon is offline  
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dagamore
 
ceejamon what do you thing of these things for quick dicing jobs?
Old 04-02-2008, 11:44 AM dagamore is offline  
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[!]WildBlue
 
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ceejamon what do you thing of these things for quick dicing jobs?

My thoughts about these are that the users are lazy asses.

As for the sauce... for me lose the carrots and celery and we are golden.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:51 PM [!]WildBlue is offline  
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ceejamon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamore View Post
ceejamon what do you thing of these things for quick dicing jobs?

I've never used one to be honest. I'm typically cynical of non-traditional kitchen gadgets. I imagine they do an ok job on some things and a not so great job on others. I don't see how it'd get even sized pieces unless you're going for a fine mince.

Personally, I'm quick with a knife so I don't bother. If you've never been shown the "stick & slice" method dicing, chopping, or mincing, check out this link: http://teamsugar.com/group/152844/blog/212942.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [!]WildBlue View Post
My thoughts about these are that the users are lazy asses.

As for the sauce... for me lose the carrots and celery and we are golden.

My wife HATES carrots, which is one reason I puree it. She doesn't know I put them in my sauce, and she loves it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:00 PM ceejamon is offline  
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[!]WildBlue
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceejamon View Post
I've never used one to be honest. I'm typically cynical of non-traditional kitchen gadgets. I imagine they do an ok job on some things and a not so great job on others. I don't see how it'd get even sized pieces unless you're going for a fine mince.

Personally, I'm quick with a knife so I don't bother. If you've never been shown the "stick & slice" method dicing, chopping, or mincing, check out this link: http://teamsugar.com/group/152844/blog/212942.



My wife HATES carrots, which is one reason I puree it. She doesn't know I put them in my sauce, and she loves it.


Fine mince is all they do, and they dont even do it well...

As for the carrots, I suppose I can give it a shot...
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:07 PM [!]WildBlue is offline  
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Nano
 
Currently making a slightly altered version of this.

added in fennel, and rosemary. also doing baked meatballs, and trying a new method for those.

also, using white wine, because i have some open, and it works fine ( The only reds i have right now are corison cabs, and while i like my pasta sauce...i dont like em that much )

Edit: after trying it, holy crap. That roasting adds soooo much flavor. Damn you ceej, im gonna have to cook it this way all the time now :P
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Last edited by Nano; 04-02-2008 at 08:03 PM..
Old 04-02-2008, 07:47 PM Nano is offline  
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Nano
 


poor quality due to digicam, but there is my usage

I really recommend adding a bit of fennel to the sauce, its licorice like flavor really complements the others.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:49 PM Nano is offline  
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ceejamon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [!]WildBlue View Post
Fine mince is all they do, and they dont even do it well...

As for the carrots, I suppose I can give it a shot...

No, they don't, but it's what a quick google search found. If somebody can find the video where Alton Brown shows how to do onion, carrot, and celery, that'd be awesome. I plan on doing several such videos for the website.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:16 PM ceejamon is offline  
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jpgoody123
 
there is something about slicing and dicing with a nice chefs knife that you don't get with those TV choppers. Plus you can cut everything to the same size and get more even cooking.


Ceejamon, I have don't my own sauce and its similar to what you did, but I never roasted the veggies, I am going to do that next time. Have you ever used chopped prosciutto? i sautee it first in the pot then add the other stuff. MMMMMMMMmmmm.
Old 04-03-2008, 07:17 AM jpgoody123 is offline  
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diearzte2
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceejamon View Post
I've never used one to be honest. I'm typically cynical of non-traditional kitchen gadgets. I imagine they do an ok job on some things and a not so great job on others. I don't see how it'd get even sized pieces unless you're going for a fine mince.

Personally, I'm quick with a knife so I don't bother. If you've never been shown the "stick & slice" method dicing, chopping, or mincing, check out this link: http://teamsugar.com/group/152844/blog/212942.



My wife HATES carrots, which is one reason I puree it. She doesn't know I put them in my sauce, and she loves it.

How long did it take you before you became proficient with a knife? I have been cooking for a long time, and I always buy extra onions and whatnot just to practice chopping, but I'm still obscenely slow. I know the correct form, I just don't seem to be getting any faster. I just recently acquired a decent knife, and I use it all the time. Any ideas on cheap things I could practice on?
Old 04-03-2008, 12:07 PM diearzte2 is offline  
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ceejamon
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It took at least a year of cooking regularly with a good knife. Having a good knife makes a difference. the rest is form, time, and confidence. If you've got form down, it's just practice from there on. Honestly, recipes like this are great practice: stuff that requires LOTS of veggie prep. That way you get lots of practice in without just wasting veggies. Of course, making your own veggie trays are another good method of practice. If you feel like your technique feels awkward, experiment some. I don't do things the same way a lot of chefs do simply because it doesn't feel natural to me.

Just persevere, and make sure you stay safe as you speed up. I've taken the tip of my finger off before. No fun at all, and blood kinda ruins the dish...
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:20 PM ceejamon is offline  
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MadMac
 
Hi Ceejamon, I'd love to try this.

What can I use to substitude the celery?
GF's allergic to them.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:53 AM MadMac is offline  
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Cannondale
 
A good quaility sharp knife which is kept sharp will do the same thing as dozens of these silly kitchen gadgets.

Substitute celery for anything you fancy! Courgette maybe?

Last edited by Cannondale; 09-17-2010 at 08:02 AM.. Reason: Crap spelling
Old 09-17-2010, 07:58 AM Cannondale is offline  
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