Tomato sauce (sweet & spicy)

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Overview
We’ve made sauce a few times when we found Roma tomatoes at a good price. However, we’ve never documented the process and it comes out differently each time… sometimes as BBQ sauce! This time I decided to write down what I did. It’s a bit laborious, and I’ll probably make changes next time, but here it is.

I used 4 large grocer’s bags of Romas (more firm, less liquid – my preference for oven roasted tomatoes) which came to 7½ kg. These measurements aren’t required to be specific, just do what feels (and tastes) right! I think I was a little heavy on the chillies, but it’s really good so might leave it as is anyway. The first 2 trays I slow roasted in the oven with garlic hoping that the garlic would roast, but in hindsight I would probably make a quick sous vide garlic paste instead for the nuttiness. The last tray I cooked faster and hotter, without the garlic. I think the combination of techniques worked well, but I’m no expert on this.

This make 6 litres of a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.

Time
1½ – 2 days

Ingredients: Roasting
7½ kg tomatoes, roughly chopped (12-14 pieces per tomato – Romas are great – grab them when they’re cheap!)
30 single-clove garlics, or 2 bulbs of garlic, chopped into 3-4mm slices
2 cayenne peppers, sliced in 4-5mm rounds
8 birds eye chillies, sliced in 4-5mm rounds
6-8 TB Italian herb mix
2-4 TB sweet balsamic reduction
Onion and garlic powder for the last tray
Olive oil (spray or bottle)

Ingredients: Sauce
30g butter
12 whole-clove garlic, or 1 bulb or garlic, crushed
4 large onions, roughly sliced
3 ts sugar

1¾ litres stock (I used beef with a 1cm fatty cap, but use whatever you have)
1 ts ground black pepper
1½ ts ground cloves
1 ts cinnamon
2 TB ground celery seed
1 TB ground allspice
4 TB yellow mustard powder
4 TB shio koji (instant umami) or 1 TB Kosher salt
1 TB Kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
4 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB liquid smoke

Equipment
Thermomix, baking trays, sterile jars and funnel

Method
Preheat oven to 130° C

1 – Line 2 deep baking trays with Glad Bake, then foil. Spray with olive oil. This makes cleaning up easier!

2 – Roughly cut the tomatoes, spreading about 2½ kg on each tray. Add the half of the garlic to each tray, a decent sprinkling of Italian herb mix, a generous drizzling of balsamic vinegar and the chillies. Toss together, then spray with olive oil and place both trays in the oven.

3 – Bake for 6-8 hours until some blackening starts, but the tomatoes are not dry. Toss them every 1-2 hours and switch the trays around halfway through.

4 – Set up the last tray, omitting the garlic, but sprinkling with both onion and garlic powder. Cook at 190-200° C for 2 hours, tossing every 30 minutes. Set aside overnight, covered (especially if you have curious cats).

5 – Melt the butter in a 9L stock pot.

6 – Add the garlic, stirring constantly, then after a minute add the onions and sugar. Cook over a medium-low heat until the onions have caramelised, about 20 minutes. If you’re worried about the pan being too dry, add a little of the stock’s fatty cap and a couple of spoons of the stock to help it along.

7 – Add the spices, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, sugar, sauce and liquid smoke. Combine well.

8 – Add all of the tomatoes from the baking trays. Heat through, adding stock as needed to ensure the bottom of the pan is never dry (I used about a litre, but when I made this I had not yet added the vinegar).

9 – Remove the bay leaves (if you can find them – I located 3 of mine). Blitz in the Thermomix in 1 L batches on speed 10 for 30 seconds. Place the sauce into a 6L saucepan – it should (just) fit!

10 – If you have more of the stock fatty cap left, add it and allow to melt through. Otherwise, add a 30g knob of butter to help add a sheen to the sauce.

11 – Reheat through and carefully pour into sterilised jars (about 12) for storage.