Thursday, May 17, 2012

Farmhouse Cooking.....Fresh Tomato Sauce

Garlic Rosemary sauce ready for canning.

   We love homegrown tomatoes! It is no secret that I have a tendency to grow rows and rows of various tomato varieties year after year...but, I have my reasons. Aside from the delicious fresh tomatoes eaten straight off the vine or as a compliment to sandwiches and salads, tomato sauce is a staple we can't live without.
   In past years I spent hours at the stove top cooking down homegrown tomatoes for sauce; not any more! After reading an article about a chef cooking fresh tomato sauce in the oven I had to try it. Tweaking the recipe to fit my little homestead, success has been reached and the results are delicious.

here: tomatoes spice or garlic

   From my own testing I can honestly say, every recipe I have for stewing or saucing tomatoes has worked fine cooking in the oven instead of the stove top (also does well in crock pot, but that's another post). My cooking style is extremely flexible and very "on hand demand"- yes, this drives some of my friends and family nuts, works great for me.

garlic and chilies added

oven version
olive oil
herbs (optional)

Cooking three variations at one whack.

   So here's the process. For every 20 tomatoes use: 6 garlic cloves and a 9x13 dish. Turn the oven on 375 and wash the tomatoes. Core the tomatoes and basically tear them into pieces (skin on, seeds in, you can rough chop them if it makes more sense) and place them in the dish. Clean and chop the garlic (mine is small/ chop it your way) adding it to the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the whole thing..salt it good.
   Sometimes I stop here, stir it up and cook it - leaving herbs to be added when I use the sauce; not always. My herbs are generally fresh from the garden: rosemary, oregano, thyme- one or all or mix (remember, flexible). As you can see, sometimes, I make various mixtures all at the same time. Pictured here is one pan just garlic, one pan garlic/rosemary and one pan is garlic/chilies (oh, so good).
   The baking is 375 for about 30 minutes. From here I can put it straight into jars as roasted (stewed) tomatoes, or run it through a food mill to make a nice tomato sauce. I often freeze or pressure can it for later use. Excellent on pizzas, pasta, chicken, veggies or in soups. Since freezer space if limited right now (after butchering) we canned our sauce this weekend.  
   Now, what I love about my flexi-recipe is it adjusts to "on hand". If I have ten tomatoes, adjust to three garlic..drizzle with oil and salt/sugar..cook. Five tomatoes..yep, just adjust. When the garden goes crazy and I harvest a bucket guessed it..just adjust! I can make one batch or several..a 9x13 or a big old roaster pan full. I can add garlic or herbs or work a straight tomato...See the joy here?

   Let me note: it takes 35 pounds of tomatoes for 6 quarts of sauce.When I use that many tomatoes, a roasting pan works just right for all of the tomatoes at one whack. Also, when I can tomatoes or tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar to the sauce right before placing the lids on: 2 tablespoons for each quart or 1 tablespoon for each pint. This helps add acidity giving a longer shelf life.

   Maybe I'll grab some from the shelf and make a pizza tonight!



Calamity Kate said...

I found you through FTLOB and Tasty Tuesday, I am in love with the chickens and your blog is delicious. I am off to explore Cheers, Kate

Alida said...

Sounds like a recipe that I can handle! I have not tired canning my own sauce before. I have the jars...I may have to give your recipe a try!

Simply Scaife Family said...

Welcome both of you! Thanks for visiting my little space. As for the canning, you can freeze (canning can be time consuming)but even making it for immediate use is so tasty!

Julie said...

I love this post! Your recipe sounds to easy and yummy. Thanks for sharing with us at The Becoming Kitchen! You'll be featured next Friday. :)

Michelle said...

This sounds so much better then the stove top method.