Truly Great But Easy Crock-Pot Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 1 day Overall time: 1 day 0:30
2 to 3 quarts scale / convert
1 can (1-3/4 lb.) tomato puree
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (6 oz.) Italian-seasoned tomato paste
1-1/2 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. sweet basil
1 tbsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. black pepper (corns)
1 tbsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1 tbsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 to 9 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
Begin four to five hours prior to bedtime.
Process all dry spices (except Sugar) together through spice grinder, etc. You should end up with a homogenous powder.
Open all three cans of tomato paste/puree, save lids. Pour tomato puree into crock-pot, scrape contents, save can. Pour large paste into crock-pot, scrape contents, save can. Stir paste into puree until homogenous. Pour small paste into crock-pot, scrape contents, save can. Stir paste into puree until homogenous.
Add all spices (including optional real onion or garlic) EXCEPT THE SUGAR, stir thoroughly.
Fill small paste can with water, rinsing saved can top, and dissolving remaining can contents in the water. Pour this water into crock-pot, stirring water into contents until homogenous. If any paste remains in small can, use water to dissolve it out, and pour into large paste can. Rinse saved large paste can top, and fill large paste can, dissolving remaining can contents in the water. Pour this water into crock-pot, stirring water into contents until homogenous. If any paste remains in small can, use water to dissolve it out, and pour into large puree can. Rinse saved large puree can top, dissolve any remaining can contents in the water, fill the can with water. Pour this water into crock-pot, stirring water into contents until homogenous. (You should end up with 3 clean cans and can tops, and will have added water equal to the can volumes to the crock pot.)
Optional: At this point various meat side dishes (meatballs, sausage pieces, etc. can be added to the sauce to cook. Don't overfill, as the sauce will expand before reducing. Leave at least one inch margin.
Turn crock-pot on "high". Leave spoon in pot so that it prevents lid from fully closing. Stir occasionally, about every hour.
When sauce is bubbling, add initial sugar. Start with only 4 Tbl. Reduce heat to "low". Keep stirring hourly. (The idea here is to time it so that the sauce is bubbling vigorously and you reduce heat and add remaining sugar just before bedtime.)
When about to retire for the night, add remaining sugar. Taste sauce by removing spoon, letting it cool, and tasting the sauce which sticks (don't be afraid to lick the spoon). Under-sugared sauce has a bitter, almost "burnt" taste. Add 1 Tbl sugar at a time, stirring very thoroughly. When not-quite-enough sugar has been added, go to bed, leaving lid slightly ajar to allow further reduction (but remove the spoon). Sauce should reduce to about 2/3 max volume (reduce by 1/3).
In the morning, the sauce might have a brown or black scum on top -- do not worry, this is just oxidized and dried sauce. Stir the sauce thoroughly. Add any remaining required sugar to taste (the reduction process tends to concentrate the sweetness, so you shouldn't really have to add much if any additional sugar), 1 Tbl. at a time, but do not over sugar. Turn off crock-pot and pour sauce into sealable container for storage in refrigerator or freezer.
Note: Perform all stirring with wooden spoon.
Optional: Substitute real onion for onion powder. 1 medium yellow, or 1 large white onion (the milder the larger). Chop fine. Saute in olive oil until translucent and just beginning to brown. Optionally process in food processor till puree. Do not drain.
Optional: Substitute real garlic for garlic powder. 3 to 10 cloves garlic, crushed and minced, or pressed. Saute in olive oil until just beginning to brown. Optionally process in food processor till puree. Do not drain.
Optional: Coat crock-pot interior with olive oil.
Optional: Substitute crushed tomatoes for paste/puree. This one comes from a relative who made the substitution. I haven't tried it and can't vouch for the results personally. To quote: "The only thing I changed was that I used a 26 oz can of Angelo Mio crushed tomatoes instead of the other cans. It was just enough for the crock pot and it gave the sauce a bit of texture."
Have you made it? What'd you think?
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