Sunday, September 12, 2010

All In The Family Tomato-Basil Sauce

Labor Day weekend on utter impulse, I brought home 40# of tomatoes from the Geneva Green Market. A deal I couldn't pass up and a chance to do a little sauce making. I do a lot of canning but have never done any sort of tomato preservation beyond freezing and oven drying. Now I had my opportunity - a heavy opportunity.

What began as a solitary endeavor soon became a family project much to my relief. Everyone pitched in cross-hatching, blanching and peeling.

Even Cousin Lauren, staying with us for the weekend was forced into service. Thank you, Lauren!

I am not such a task master - rest assured there was lots of fooling around...

Eventually peeled tomatoes surpassed unpeeled and we were able to get cooking.

I sauteed onions, LOTS of fresh local garlic (you really must track some down before it's too late.) And a good dose of red wine and the tomatoes.

I decided two use to pans (of completely different type) to facilitate the cooking. They bubbled for a good long while.

Still having a love affair with my basic model food mill, with Jake's help I was able to puree it all to a moderately smooth texture before returning it to the stove to further reduce and develop great flavor. At the end of the cooking time, I added generous handfuls of chiffonade of basil from my garden.

Ultimately, we wound up with 6 1/2 quarts of sauce from what I guessed to be about 30# of tomatoes. Another 5# pounds became grill roasted salsa a la Doug and the balance was roasted with onions and garlic to be pureed into soup on an overly busy, cold day.

Don't they look lovely?

I did can the sauce in a hot water bath per the cookbook's instructions and meticulously followed the bible of canning, The Blue Ball Book. I've read that it's difficult to can safe tomato sauce but Williams-Sonoma said I could. They can't be wrong, right?

Tomato-Basil Sauce

from The Art of Preserving by Rick Field and Rebecca Courchesne

1 T. olive oil
4 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
10# tomatoes, cut into chunks (I chose to peel them, too)
1/2 cup dry red wine, optional (come on!)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I chose to use bottled lemon juice to ensure the proper acidity level)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground pepper

Have ready hot, clean jars and their lids. (consult the Ball sight for specific instructions, if needed.)

In a large non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add theonions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring 2 minutes longer

Add the tomatoes and wine, if using. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncoverd stiring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 1 hour.

Pass the tomato mixture through a food mill or coarse-mesh sieve over a clean, large nonreactive sauce pan. Gring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to mediucm-low and simmer until the sauce reaches the desired consistnecy. Stir in the basi, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Tast the sauce and adjust the seasonings.

Ladle the hot sauce into the jars, leaving 1/4" of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

Process the jars for 30 minutes in a boil water bath. (again, check the Blue sight for specific instructions, if needed) The sealed jars can be store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 6) one pint jars


pve design said...

Can I buy a jar of that gold? Looks yummy and I know it takes a ton of time to do...all with love and help!

Emily said...

Wow...Jenn, you're aMazing! And the result is both gorgeous and I'm sure DElicious.