Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomato stew - lots of it!

We went to the farmers' market this morning and bought half a bushel of fresh tomatoes, a basket of onions and some button mushrooms. The following pictures were taken with the Blackberry as we went along, and the write-up was done in between.

Garlic peeler, grating dish and brush
We had fresh garlic from our back yard and a big zucchini (marrow) from a neighbour. We figured we might as well add more veggies in the stew while we're about it and while everything is fresh! As for a recipe - I've been making this for so many years that there is no real recipe to follow, but I'll try to give an idea at the end of this post for those who want to try. We usually make smaller batches, though.

Started off with chopped onions, add the garlic and soften. Then we peeled and chopped the zucchini, adding to the mixture. Added the chopped mushrooms at a later stage.

We've been chopping and peeling and stirring for a good two hours! The house smelled lovely with the addition of thyme, freshly grated nutmeg, white and black pepper. We only added a small amount of sea salt, and I always add some sugar or Xylitol, which I've been using with success since all sweeteners had to be cut out due to the strict medical food restrictions. More tomatoes were sliced and added to the pot, until it was as full as you will see in a later picture.

We haven't done this in ages! Read: pre-Lyme Disease.

The stew is to be bottled and some to be frozen. Mason jars (canning jars) are wonderful to use for freezing anything from leftover soup to meat or sauces and gravies. We use the tomato stew as the base for everything: meat or pasta dishes and casseroles, soups and chili, lasagna or spinach stew.

The picture with empty wine bottle is just to show the scale of the stock pot. It holds something like 12 or 14 litres and was almost full but we had to leave room for bubbling. Use a good wooden spoon to stir, and if needed, put a lid on the pot to stop splatters, but leave room for evaporation.

Other pics were taken during the whole process. Just a few are uploaded here.

Tasted the flavour and adjusted, although we always add flavouring later, depending on how we use the sauce in dishes. Scooped out batches into a smaller bowl and used an immersion blender to create a thick sauce before bottling.

We bottled 30 small jars of 250 ml (1 cup) as well as 5 larger jars of the sauce. What a joy to have for winter! For labels, I just printed some simple labels with our names and the month and year, as well as what to use the sauce for.

Fruit of our labour! Lots of jars of sauce
Best is knowing what is in the sauce, without any extra chemicals.

The basic stew just asks for onions and tomatoes. If possible, use Romano tomatoes since I find they have more flesh. 
  • Slice 3-4 medium sized onions and fry to soft and yellow in a bit of coconut oil, butter or olive oil
  • Slice fresh tomatoes and add to the onions until the mixture is more red than white, about 2 pounds (1 kg)
  • Add some fresh garlic if you like
  • Add salt, black pepper and a little bit of sugar / sweetener
  • Add herbs of your liking. We add nutmeg, thyme, rosemary. 
  • Stir and keep cooking until the stew thickens
  • Scoop into jars, baggies or bottles and freeze or keep in the fridge
 Additional ingredients or preparation:
Use the sauce as is or use a food processor or wand to create a smoother sauce before bottling.
Add any other sort of veggies you might have during the cooking process, like mushrooms, Swiss Chard, spinach, celery, etc. Fresh or dried herbs like basil might be added to some batches and label accordingly.

Have fun and hand out or take along as hostess gifts. 

Jam Hands

1 comment:

Ali @ said...

Thank you so much for linking up last week at Recipe Sharing Monday. The new link party is now up and I'd love it if you joined us again. Have a great week!

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