December 13, 2013

Roasted Tomato Sauce

You can't beat a fresh summer tomato.  To me, it is one of life's most perfect foods.  I was spoiled rotten this past summer by Michigan tomatoes.  I ate them every chance I got and they were delicious!  Wiley's Farm had the best tomatoes and they came in in bushels.  So I did something I've never done before:  I canned tomatoes.  Most of the tomatoes I canned, were plain and simple . . . just tomatoes.  (Sorry, no photos of that process, but wait til next year :)  

But I also decided to try my hand at canning a Roasted Tomato Sauce using Roma tomatoes.  Romas are meatier than slicing tomatoes and as such, they make a terrific sauce.  Here is my version of Roasted Tomato Sauce.  I made this sauce using 1/2 bushel of Roma tomatoes.  

- Slice off the tops of the tomatoes and cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise;

- Lay tomatoes on foil lined cookie sheets, cut side up and sprinkle each with a little dried thyme, thinly sliced garlic, balsamic vinegar and a little sugar.  Drizzle about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes on each tray.  Turn tomatoes around to coat all sides.  
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- Roast in a 350 oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours until deeply caramelized.  Remove the skins from each tomato half.  The skins will easily peel off.  

- Place peeled tomatoes in a large bowl.  Then transfer roasted tomatoes to a large Dutch oven.  Cook over medium heat until tomatoes are reduced to a nice thick sauce.  

- Ladle sauce into prepared, sterilized jars and seal.  I used pint jars here because the sauce is thick and concentrated.  Not like canned tomato paste, but thick just the same.  

Ok, now here is a new twist on canning for you.  I learned this method from Caroline Wiley and have used it to can 24 quarts of tomatoes, 13 quarts of tomato sauce  and 10 pints of roasted tomato sauce and it has worked every single time.  Try it.  You will never go back to the water bath method of canning tomatoes.   

Place filled, hot jars into a cold oven.  As many as will fit.  I get 13 quarts in my oven.  Close the door.  Turn oven temperature to 250.  When oven temperature reaches 250, time it for one hour.  After one hour, turn oven off and leave jars in the oven at least 8 hours or overnight.  Do not open oven!  In the morning, every jar will have sealed.  Remove from oven carefully as the jars will still be hot.  Place on counter top to cool completely and store as usual.  This method sounds unusual but it works like a charm!

And here is the bounty of canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and roasted tomato sauce I made this past summer.  Think it will get me through the winter?  ;-)