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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Gravy

    I woke up ready to make some meatballs today.  I had all day to burn, so simply putting them in a jar of sauce just didn't seem like the way to go.  Each summer Matt and I grow a ton of tomatoes.  More than we could ever eat!  So, I fill our freezer while they are at the peak of freshness.  Some I freeze whole, some I chop and place into jars before I freeze them.

      I also make some into a really basic tomato sauce.  I quarter tomatoes and cook them down with a little salt and a splash of olive oil.  After they simmer for a while, I insert the stick blender and puree the whole thing.  After pouring into jars, I freeze it.  Usually by the end of summer, the freezer is full of tomatoes and sauce.  I use a mix of these in soups all fall and winter long.  Most of it ends up in chili, but I never run out of uses.

    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:

Sunday Gravy

3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
1 stalk celery
1-2 carrots
pinch of red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves of garlic or 1/2 T garlic powder
1 cup beef 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

  1. In a dutch oven, saute the olive oil, bits of bacon, onion and celery until veggies are soft and bacon is cooked.
  2. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, saute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in red wine and scrape up any bits that might be on the bottom of the pan
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients
  5. 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.
  6. After at least four hours, remove bay leaves and use an immersion blender to bring sauce to your desired consistency.
  7. 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.  

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