I’ve been wanting to do some different tomato sauce recipes and found this one in one of my newer canning books – “Preserving” by Pat Crocker. This recipe takes a little bit of work with all the roasting, but it is so freaking delicious that it’s totally worth the effort. Now because this is from one of my canning books that I don’t trust with my life necessarily (such as Ball, or an extension service publication), please see my little discussion at the end of this post about how I decided that it is safe for hot water bath canning (but don’t worry, I am posting it because I decided it is).
4 pounds of tomatoes, preferably roma
2 pounds red bell peppers
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
(or 2/3 if you want to be extra safe – see my rant at the end)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
10 cloves garlic
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
5 tbsp bottled lemon juice
Here is what I did:
Preheat the oven to 400F
Since I tripled the recipe and I don’t have that many rimmed baking sheets, I needed to roast in phases. I did the tomatoes first. Cut them in half and seed them and place them face down on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tbsp of the oil over them. Roast them for 15-20 minutes.
Look at those beauties! Let them cool enough to handle them, peel off the skins and put the tomatoes in your pot. You can chop them coarsely if you like but mine fell apart so easily I really didn’t need to do any chopping.
Next roast the red peppers. Place them skin side up, halved and seeded on the baking sheet and drizzle with the other 2 tbsp of oil. Roast the garlic along with them. The peppers take a little longer, maybe 25-30 minutes. Roast until the skins char a little bit. The house will smell sooooo good. Remove the garlic as soon as it is soft, it won’t need that much time, 5 or 10 minutes.
Of course if you are doing the recipe as written and have enough trays, you may be able to do all the roasting at once.
Peel the skins off the peppers once they cool enough to handle. Some slide right off but some are a terrible pain. My advice would be to try and grab it by a blister and pull off as much in one go as possible. Chop the peppers and add to the pot with the tomatoes. You can also pour some of the juices released from the tomatoes and peppers on the tray into the pot.
Chop the garlic and onions and add them in as well. Bring the sauce to a boil.
Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and red wine and boil for 30 minutes.
Add the herbs and continue to boil for an hour or so, until the sauce is thick.
Meanwhile prepare the canner, jars and lids. The recipe says it will yield 5 pints, but tripling it it I only made just over 10. This is another reason I thought a little more acid per jar may not be a bad idea.
When the sauce is thickened to your satisfaction, it’s jar filling time! Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to each jar before filling with the hot sauce.
Fill the jars leaving a half inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and tighten bands finger tip tight. Place jars in canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Process at a full rolling boil for 35 minutes.
After the 35 minutes is up, turn off the heat, remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to a hot pad or towel. Wait 12-24 hours for them to cool. Check seals, wipe down the jars, label and store.
OK so as promised, here is my safety rant… I mean discussion… about this sauce. As you may notice, there are a LOT of low acid ingredients in this recipe. There is a 2:1 ratio of tomatoes to peppers, and onions on top of that. So, since I really want to be safe in my canning and not make anyone sick, I wanted to check into whether this is acidic enough. My one big reminder here is this: anyone can publish a book/blog/whatever about canning, so always do your research before making a new recipe. Ball for example can be trusted, and so can other books that have actual tested recipes, such as this one, by a university extension service or the USDA. I was a bit wary as to whether this recipe is acidic enough for hot water bath canning, so I referred to some ball ratios to help me decide. I found a salsa recipe that has very similar ratios of tomatoes, peppers and onions. Per tomato amount it has slightly less peppers than this recipe and slightly more onion. When scaled to the quantity of this sauce, it has about 2-3 tablespoons more acid than this recipe, and around a cup more low acid ingredients (onion and pepper). So basically what I am saying here is the recipe seems to be pretty darn close to a trusted recipe I have. And really, all I am saying is stay safe! Definitely do not add more onions or peppers to this recipe! And if you are worried at all, as I was, add a little more acid. I tried a little more lemon juice and think you may start to taste that, but I think upping the vinegar to 2/3 cup would not change the flavour too much, or you could also reduce the peppers or onions a little. All in all I just wanted to remind people not to trust every recipe you see unless they are tested recipes and feel free to be extra safe with a little added acid. OK rant done, now go make some sauce it’s so delicious!
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