Thursday, July 21, 2011

Procrastination Sauce

I've been trying to use the summer to buckle down and write more about Sunday dinner and writing about food has a way of making me want to cook.  Some people (including my husband) would say that this is just resistance to the writing process, but nobody who smelled the tomato sauce simmering in my kitchen could possibly agree.

As I've been working on the Sunday dinner book, I've realized that I'm not really much of a cook.  I like to throw things together and my messes are often pretty tasty.  What I'm not good at is writing down what I've done and I have a hard time replicating my family's favorite dishes or even remembering what I made.  So today, I decided to write down this "recipe" as I go along.  It smells promising, but I'll have to let you know at the end of this post.

Procrastination Sauce
It may seem sacreligious to be using canned tomatoes during the height of the tomato season.  I agree.  Sadly, our tomatoes aren't doing much this year.  (We've been getting just enough for salads every few days.)  If you have a supply of homegrown tomatoes, by all means use them!

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one large onion, chopped into fine dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, run through a garlic press
  • 2 six ounce cans of tomato paste
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used Myer's Organic)
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (I used organic)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into two large chunks
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch of sugar (in honor of Grandma Willie)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped into fine ribbons (chiffonade)


Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat
  • Add diced onion and cook until onions are translucent
  • Add garlic and stir for approximately one minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic
  • Add tomato paste, ground beef, and sausage.  Stir for approximately two minutes.  Meat should break down into small pieces and tomato paste should turn slightly darker in color.
  • Add diced tomatoes, chicken stock, carrot, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper.  
  • Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for several hours.  Stir every 20 minutes or so.  
UPDATES:

10:30 AM- One and a half hours into the cooking process the sauce tastes pretty darn good.  I added a pinch of sugar and am reserving a nice handful of fresh basil from my garden to add just before I serve the sauce.  I'm going to keep the sauce on a low simmer for another half hour and see what happens.

11:40 AM- Sauce has reduced and mellowed.  But it needs some brightness.  I'm still anticipating adding the basil later, but added a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme from the garden.