1 Lg Sweet Onion
3-4 Cloves Garlic
28 oz Can Tomato Sauce
10 oz Can Tomato Puree
6 oz Can Tomato Paste
2-3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp thyme
1 TBS oregano and basil
dried mushrooms, optl not really
This is not by any means a complicated tomato sauce, but several little secrets make it one of the best I've ever tasted. It has evolved from the sauce taught to me in the Italian restaurant kitchen of a good friend, whose cooking I adore. Prepare to cook, for I am about to share with you!
In a large heavy pot, start with a pound of lean ground beef and one sweet onion and one carrot that have been turned to mulch in the food processor. I want it to melt into the sauce, adding flavor but no detectable pieces to speak of. I use a potato masher for mashing the meat into tiny pieces as it browns. Add the crushed garlic cloves now also and stir in well.
When the meat is completely brown and the juices have cooked away, add the tomato sauce, puree, paste and one cup of water mixing all together well. Mine favorite brand is Muir Glen organic, but Hunt's is also good.
Add some fresh thyme, if you have it, stripping the tiny leaves off the stem by sliding it through your fingers from the top of the stem downward (doesn't work well the other way, you'll see). If you don't have fresh use about 1 tsp of dried and 1 TBS each of oregano and basil. Also add 1 Tbs salt and 2-3 Tbs sugar. Don't cover it completely but you'll want to set the lid ajar or use a splatter screen unless you'd like a speckled kitchen.
For the last ingredient and one of the best secrets to flavorful sauces, soups, gravies, meat rubs -
Add 1-2 TBS of this magic powder:
Using dried mushrooms (a blend of types) whir in the coffee bean grinder. That's it. You'll have umami powder in about 30 seconds. It's easy to find these dried blends at most any grocery, usually placed in or near produce, often close to the fresh mushrooms.Sort through the pieces and choose the crispiest, driest ones for the best grinding. *Note: this grinder is for spices and such only. Coffee beans never touch it for I fear their harsh oils will be impossible to remove.*
When the sauce has bubbled for about an hour, taste it, use it or give it another 30 minutes or so. Obviously this is a sauce to make on a day when your home doing other things in the kitchen or nearby since it simmers a good while. If you want it to be even better, make it a day or two ahead and let it improve in the fridge a bit more. Better yet, double the recipe and freeze several quart bags of it for a happy, later day!
Jan Burke. http://dailydishinblog.blogspot.com/