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Mexican Tomato Sauce? Why Not?

Tomates cerisesI’m trying to use up all of my fresh tomatoes, but I’m burned out on garden salads and gazpacho, which can only be eaten fresh, and now I’m on a mission find recipes that preserve the harvest when frozen.  We usually associate tomato sauces with Italian cooking, but there are many Mexican recipes that can use a spiced up tomato sauce base, so use it in any recipe calling for canned tomatoes.  And yes, you can use the sauce to coat any pasta you like.

To spice it up, you can add a variety of MexGrocer products, including hot sauces and pastes, and canned chiles, or powders.  They can be added to taste before freezing, which is what I recommend.  Capsaicin, the active heat ingredient in chile peppers, is not diminished by freezing or cooking.

Homemade Mexican Tomato Sauce

Tomato Jar

To easily remove the skins of fresh tomatoes, blanch them for ten seconds in boiling water, then cool them.  Use a paring knife to separate the skins from the flesh.  Some sources say that you should strain the tomatoes to remove the seeds, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, skins removed and chopped
4 hot fresh red chiles, such as jalapeños, or 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion in olive oil over low heat for about five minutes.  Add the garlic, basil, and Mexican oregano and cook on low heat for 5 minutes or so.  Add  the wine and cook until it’s reduced by half.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.  At this point you can keep the sauce chunky or blend it until smooth.  Allow the sauce to cool, place it in plastic containers, and freeze.

Yield: About 4 cups
Heat Scale: Varies

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AboutDave Dewitt

Dave is known in the media as "The Pope of Peppers" because of the 36 books he's written on chile peppers and spicy food around the world. He's also co-producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and editor and publisher of the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite at www.fiery-foods.com. His latest book, with chile breeder Dr. Paul Bosland, is The Complete Chile Pepper Book.

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