My tomato plants have been pulled and what was green has slowly ripened for one last pot of marinara sauce. I made a pot of it last week and froze it, then vacuum sealed it to take with me for another trip to Southern California. I’m going to help my sister pack her house and wish her well for a new chapter in her life. My parents would be as happy for her as I am.
I am really digging adding a mirepoix to my marinara sauce this season. Once I learned about it and incorporated this method to my sauce, I am 100% hooked. Just so you know, a mirepoix is a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery; the traditional ratio is two parts onions, one part carrots, and one part celery.
Since I have been making rather large amounts, I wanted to share my recipe for a big pot of sauce for canning, or a smaller batch for a dinner party. Bon Appétit!
|For Large Batch to Can or Freeze||For Small Batch for Dinner Party|
|3 tablespoons organic butter||1.5 tablespoons olive oil|
|2 large sweet yellow onions, chopped||1 large yellow onion, chopped|
|2 small carrots, finely chopped||1 small carrot, finely chopped|
|2 celery sticks, rib trimmed, finely chopped||1 celery stick, rib trimmed, finely chopped|
|3 garlic cloves, minced||2 garlic cloves, minced|
|2 teaspoons dried basil||1 teaspoon dried basil|
|2 teaspoons dried oregano||1 teaspoon dried oregano|
|1 teaspoon dried thyme||1 teaspoon dried thyme|
|1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt||½ teaspoon freshly ground sea salt|
|1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper||½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper|
|¾ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed||½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed|
|¼ cup balsamic vinegar||2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar|
|¼ cup hearty red wine||2 tablespoons hearty red wine|
|5 lbs fresh tomatoes for sauces||2.5 lbs fresh tomatoes for sauces|
|WINTER: Three (3) 28oz cans organic whole or crushed tomatoes||WINTER: One (1) 28oz can organic whole or crushed tomatoes, add small 14oz can of tomatoes if desired for a more sauce|
Core the top and score the bottom of your fresh tomatoes. Blanch in hot water until the skin lifts – no more than a minute or two – and place in cold water, then peel right away. Cut or tear in half and deseed as much as you can. Set aside in large bowl. With your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces to simmer.
Heat butter or oil in large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. If you are going to can, use butter. Olive oil has a tendency to go rancid, even in a canned sauce. Why take the chance! Add onion, carrot and celery to pot and cook 4-6 minutes until soft, stirring frequently. This addition will give your marinara a heartier consistency. Add next 7 ingredients (to fennel seeds) and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar, cook less than one minute. Add your tomatoes and wine; bring to a simmer.
Cook over low heat on the lowest simmer setting for one (1) hour or until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Stir occasionally or just when you want to take a deep in breath of the aroma! Pulse through a food processor to make the sauce consistency you desire. Makes 12 cups or 6+ pint jars that you will be able to water-bath can. Follow canning recipe for tomato sauce.
NOTE: I have found the best sauce tomatoes are Roma varieties. This season I was given a box of Early Girls which were meaty enough for sauce and I added them to my Roma harvest. You want to pick a tomato that has as much flesh inside if possible.