Just wanted to update here instead of starting a new thread...
I have been cranking out tomato sauce from our overload of fresh tomatoes. I have made this with the abundance of heirloom tomatoes from the CSA that were getting too ripe (including about half cherry tomatoes) as well as regular ol' tomatoes that are really cheap right now. These are NOT Roma tomatoes, which would be best, so the cooking time is much longer since they have a lot of liquid.
Here is the VERY PRECISE
- A lot of tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Sea salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon to make it fairly low sodium - 880 mg for the entire batch)
- Black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste
- Herbs to taste: I used fresh basil, oregano and thyme, kept on their stems and submerged in the sauce
- Crushed garlic to taste (I used two big cloves to a pot but you could go waaay higher)
- Optional, other veggies as desired:
- Carrots (I added 3, cut in chunks, vanishes in the final sauce - Would make this Phase 2 though)
- Cauliflower (a nice surprise addition, vanishes in the sauce)
- Bell peppers
- Mushrooms (I haven't tried but I want to; I would slice and add in the last hour or so AFTER pureeing the rest)
- Like sophie said, probably pretty much anything you want - this is a great way to sneak in vegetables for those who don't eat enough; everything I have tried so far is undetectable
Coat the crockpot with a drizzle of olive oil. Cut up a bunch of ripe tomatoes (I don't peel first since I put it through a food mill later) and fill the crockpot to the brim. Turn on high and leave the lid off. Add optional veggies in the beginning or later when the sauce is thicker. Peppers maybe should go in near the end; my crockpot cookbooks say that they get bitter if they cook for a really long time, but I threw mine in from the start.
Soon there will be chunks of tomatoes floating in juice. Just let it be, stirring occasionally until it thickens up nicely. The skins will become easy to remove so you can pick them all out and puree the sauce later or do what I do, which is leave them all in and put the whole thing through a food mill.
I cooked my last batch ~24 hours (they were REALLY juicy tomatoes), adding garlic, salt, pepper and herbs in the last two hours. NOTE: I have a really old crockpot so maybe it doesn't get as hot as the newer ones...
I used big sprigs of herbs and immersed them, removing them in the end (I don't like slimy basil in my sauce) so it is kind of an herbal infusion.
Run the sauce through a food mill, then return to the crockpot to thicken further if needed. I cook mine until a path drawn through the sauce with a spoon remains.
This sauce is INSANELY delicious with every version I have made - just tomato, tomato/carrot, tomato/carrot/cauliflower/pepper - and surprisingly low sodium, considering how high the store-bought sauces are.
I have frozen this and I think I will be enjoying this sauce for months to come.