Last installment of the Tomato Sauce Series. If you have already read parts 1 and 2 then you have made your scratch Tomato Sauce, Eggs in Purgatory and Sausage Cream Pasta. If you have not done this yet then feel free to go back to basics here or get your missing recipes here.
In this last section we are going to look at one crowd favorite - tomato soup. Then we are going to take a page out of our grandmothers' books and refuse to waste what we have made and I will give you a game plan for when you have just a little bit of sauce left and what to do with it.
Since we have established Tomato Sauce as a foundation of classical western cooking lets take a second to appreciate that tomatoes were not always a staple in kitchens around the world. Tomatoes are originally native to South America - specifically Mexico. This article from the Smithsonian Magazine's website here will provide more of a timeline into this if you are supremely interested in the origins of tomatoes. The most notable thing about this red fruit is that it used to be considered poisonous and was grown in pots as ornamental plants only. Victorians found the bulbous fruits silly and exotic.
Eventually the world came to and realized the excellent use of tomatoes both raw and cooked. Andy Warhol made the famous painting of Campbell's Tomato Soup and a pop icon was founded.
If you want to make your own tomato soup, below is a recipe - you're bulking up the tomato sauce with carrots and stretching it with stock and pureeing it down then adding some cream.
1Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 carrot, diced
1 recipe tomato sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 C chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3C heavy cream
Fresh basil leaves
1. In a large heavy sauce pot, heat your oil and butter. Add your carrot and cook until softened.
2. Add tomato sauce, red pepper flake, and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
4. Using an immersion blender or standard blender, puree the hot soup until smooth.
5. Return soup to your pot and add cream. Allow to reduce 5 minutes, adjust seasoning if needed.
6. Ladle into bowls and top with torn basil pieces.
The last nugget I wanted to share is the magic of sofrito. Sofrito is a Spanish cuisine staple and is made from onions and tomatoes cooked down and set aside to be added into dishes to add more in depth flavor. I think our grandmothers, if they had a freezer, would save the tomato sauce and use it in this way without knowing that it is so European. I take my small amounts of sauce and freeze them in ice cube trays then pop those tomato cubes out and keep them in a sealed container in my freezer. These little tomato bombs are great in beef stews, bean dishes, added to hearty green vegetables, and so much more. I Take them out of the freezer in advance to thaw or throw them in the stock/liquid component of the dish I'm making to thaw directly into the cooking jus.
Below is a Lentil Stew recipe that adds a dollop of the Tomato Sauce to create the sauce portion of the dish. If you are on a plant based diet then just stick to the lentils and serve with rice. If you like a little extra meat to round out your meals I would suggest some roasted sliced sausage or a piece of seared salmon with this dish.
1 Lb green lentils
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 medium yellow potatoes, diced
2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1-2 cubes of tomato sauce bombs
3-6 cups of water or stock
salt and pepper to taste Method:
1. Rinse your lentils and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large saute pan and cook the carrots, onions and garlic until softened. Season your veg.
3. Add the lentils to the pan along with the diced potatoes and paprika and mix together.
4. Add your bay leaf, sauce bombs and stock. You want enough stock to completely cover the lentils.
5. Simmer the lentils for 45 minutes or until soft, adding more water as needed to keep them covered. Keep a lid on the pan.
6. Once all cooked, adjust seasoning and serve with rice.
I hope you have enjoyed the Tomato Sauce Series! Who knew it would develop a life of its own. If you have any questions please let me know.