Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Universal tomato base

When your farmers' market offerings look this:
(it was really more like 12-13 pounds...)

But your canning mojo has up and went and your canning pot is only big enough for pints and you simply can't face all that blanching...

Allow me to present: Universal Tomato Base (UTB).

By roasting the (unpeeled) tomatoes with onions and couple hot or bell peppers if desired, you end up with a freezable puree that can be the base of many easy and delicious meals that taste of the height of summer all winter long. Use as is for pasta sauce, or

Combine 3 cups UTB with:
*2 cups stock, for amazing tomato soup
*1 can evaporated milk and a pinch of Italian herbs, for even more amazing cream of tomato soup or pink sauce
*1 T each bloomed curry powder and garam masala and 1 can coconut milk for curry
*Include more hot peppers in the initial preparation for a hearty dip perfect for tortilla chips

10 pounds tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and cut in 6-8 pieces
2 pounds red onions, cut into eighths
Colored bell peppers, if you have them
3-5 jalapenos, if desired
Kosher salt, to taste (I used 2 T for each large roasting pan)
Olive oil (greasing pan plus about 1/4 cup per pan)

Preheat oven to 350. Divide produce among greased baking dishes. The tomatoes will cook down a lot, but you want them to brown a bit at the end, not steam. Season with salt and oil. Roast 2-3 hours, until tomatoes are juicy and have some spots of char. Scoop the vegetables with pan juices into the blender and puree smooth. Three cup batches fit nicely in quart bags. Cool to room temperature, then chill overnight in fridge before freezing. Ten pounds of tomatoes cooked down to 4 batches (about 12 cups)

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