Somehow I have only made three or four batches of chili this football season. I guess we have been busy and I have had a lot of other things I wanted to try. So, the freezer is still pretty full. This worked out great for today. I opened the pantry, dug out some tomatoes and went to work to make a sauce fitting of Marlene's Meatballs. Here is what I came up with:
3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
1 stalk celery
pinch of red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves of garlic or 1/2 T garlic powder
1 cup chicken stock
1 Qt tomato sauce
1 Qt chopped tomatoes (could substitute canned tomatoes for sauce and chopped tomatoes)
1 T balsalmic vinegar
3 bay leaves
2 T dried basil leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 cup dry red wine
1 tsp salt
- In a dutch oven, saute the olive oil, bits of bacon, onion and celery until veggies are soft and bacon is cooked.
- Add red pepper flakes and garlic, saute until fragrant.
- Pour in chicken stock and scrape up any bits that might be on the bottom of the pan
- Mix in remaining ingredients
- The sauce will be very loose and almost look like a vegetable soup. Don't panic! Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer on low for a couple of hours, then cover.
- After at least four hours, remove bay leaves and use an immersion blender to bring sauce to your desired consistency.
- Add meat, cover and simmer for as long as you can stand it. The longer the better.
It was worth the wait! The sauce was started around 9:30 this morning and we ate at 5:00. I would make it again. It was a great way to use some of the tomatoes from the freezer and made the house smell wonderful.