|Pasta Alternative: Cooked Chicken and Kale|
Recipe created from Conversation at Farmers’ Market
I love men who can cook and like to do so. It’s especially heartening to see young men experimenting with their own recipes and talking about them. Such was the case at the farmers’ market a few weeks back when a handsome young tomato vendor told me how he’d cook the discounted sauce tomatoes he was selling. Yes, I know it was a sales pitch. And it would have worked if I didn’t have 5 lbs. of tomatoes at home already. It almost worked anyway.
The beauty of slow cooker recipes is of course that they pretty much cook themselves unattended. Although baked tomato sauce is delicious, you can’t go out to a concert while it’s cooking. But I did just that while “making” the slow cooked tomato sauce. Either style sauce can be successfully frozen for bright winter meals at home. Better yet, add a container of frozen sauce to your cooler along with frozen veggie burgers for those winter road trips. Serve them with pasta when you reach your destination, a simple and hearty meal.
|Saute Onions, Peppers, and Garlic Before Adding|
|Keep Cooking it Down|
Finally, do take the time to fry up the onions and other veggies, rather than just throwing everything into the slow cooker raw. My farmers’ market friend was very specific about this, and I believe it’s key to the excellence of his recipe. Did I mention that I love men who cook?
makes about 6 cups
5 lb. mixed tomatoes
1½ tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2½ cups chopped onion
1½ cups chopped sweet peppers
2 tsp. dry oregano
2 tsp. dry marjoram
2 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)
Cut tomatoes into large dice. Cut cherry and grape tomatoes in half. Put into slow cooker container. Select either high (4-5 hour cycle) or low (10-12 hour cycle), depending on when you want the sauce to be ready. Be aware that you might need an extra 1-2 hours of cooking time if tomatoes have high water content. Turn slow cooker on.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onions to skillet and lower heat to medium. Sauté for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add peppers and garlic, and continue cooking and stirring for another 2-3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and peppers release a bit of juice.
Scrape contents of skillet into slow cooker with tomatoes. Add dry oregano and marjoram. Stir. Cover and let cook for cycle, stirring occasionally to check water content. If it looks watery during the last hour or so, move the lid so it’s slightly ajar and more water can evaporate.
At the end of the cycle, if sauce isn’t thick enough to suit you, turn onto high for another cycle. Leave lid slightly ajar. Check and stir every 30 minutes, and turn off slow cooker when sauce is the thickness that you like.
When sauce is done, stir in finely chopped basil and sea salt to taste if desired. Serve immediately, or cool and store in refrigerator or freezer.