Posts Tagged ‘Vegetable’

‘Mater Sauce with Meats

My sister is a good cook, but she generally doesn’t make much meat.  Whenever she comes over for dinner, or I offer to cook at her house her immediate request is for “meats!”  Especially when she was pregnant, all she wanted was meat.  Preferably meat cooked by me or Mister.  So when I spent a weekend at her house late in her pregnancy stocking up her freezer, of course one of her first requests (besides empanadas) was Meats!

I wanted to make something that would work as a family dinners, but would also be a reasonable quick meal for her when her husband wasn’t home.  Lil’ Sis isn’t leftover adverse, and she LOOOVES noodles, so spaghetti sauce seemed like the obvious  choice (with meat, of course).  This recipe makes a ton of sauce.  It’s definitely a simmer all day kind of recipe, but it doesn’t require much baby sitting, and at the end of the day you’re rewarded with  freezer full of  delicious hearty meals for nights where you can’t be bothered to do anything besides boil some noodles.  (And maybe throw together some salad. Balanced meals are your friend.)

‘Mater Sauce with Meats

Makes about 10 cups of sauce.

  • A #10 can of crushed tomatoes (or 4 regular big cans)
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 mild Italian sausages, casing removed
  • 2 diced medium yellow onions
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a large pot (~8 qts), over medium high heat, crumble the ground beef and sausage and brown well.  It doesn’t have to be fully cooked, but get lots of browned surfaces on there.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Pour out the  grease, leaving 1-2 Tbsp in the pot.

Saute the onion and garlic in the meat grease until softened and starting to brown.

Sprinkle in the salt, peppers, and herbs and mix well.  Pour in the red wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to dissolve all the brown meaty goodness.  Let cook till the pot is nearly dry again.  Add the meat back in.

Carefully, because it will want to splatter all over the place, pour in the crushed tomatoes.  If for some reason you don’t get a kick out of buying the giant cans like I do, you can feel free to use 3-4 normal sized (i.e. 28 oz) cans.  But seriously how fun it is to have a can this big?

Regular sized diced tomato can provided for size reference only.  Also outing myself for using totally unfancy canned tomato products.

Stir well, bring to a simmer and let it just bubble away over low heat for several hours.  I think ours was going for about 6 hours.  It will darken in color and reduce slightly.  Also it will look like the surface of a bubbling pool of magma.

Add the grated Parmesan and mix in well.  Let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes and taste to adjust seasoning if needed.

Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit and then package for the freezer.

(if you want to get an A in food safety, use an ice bath to cool it quickly)

I like to use gallon ziplock freezer bags, and lay them flat to freeze.  They stack  neatly  and thaw much faster than a big block of sauce.  I put about 2.5 cups of sauce in each bag, squeeze out the air and then seal them up and lay them on a cookie sheet to freeze.  (insurance in case of leaks)

Alternately – cook up about 5 pounds of pasta and proceed to feed a small army.

Note: If you don’t have all day for simmering, add a small can of tomato paste before the red wine.  Let it cook for a minute or two before adding the red wine and then proceed as written.  You can reduce the simmering time to ~2 hours.



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Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  I’ve been slacking on the blogging lately, but I have an  totally lame extremely reasonable excuse – I’ve lost my recipe for beef empanadas.  I was going to follow up my chicken empanada recipe with one for completely inauthentic and excellent beef empanadas, but my raggedy, grease-covered recipe card is missing.   I’ve been so annoyed with myself for misplacing it that I’ve avoided the blog because the half finished draft of the beef empanada post was just pissing me off all over again.  So…my overly emotional response to losing a recipe aside…I’ve been cooking up a storm and have lots of other recipes to share so I’m going to get back into the swing of blogging regularly and just figure out the beef empanadas later.

This year we went to thanksgiving with my mother-in-law’s family.  When the giant planning emails started making the rounds I noticed that sweet potatoes were missing from the prospective menu.  So I volunteered to make them, and after a lot of deliberation, decided to make a standard glazed sweet potato, but to dial down the sweetness a bit.  I love sweet potatoes in any form, but the ooey-gooeyness can be a bit cloying on a plate piled high with other rich foods.  So enter these glazed sweet potatoes that definitely fit in that traditional sweet-sweet potato category, but with some citrus and a touch of booze to cut the sugar.

Several people told me that they aren’t generally a fan of Thanksgiving sweet potatoes because they are too sweet, but that these were good.  Most of them got eaten, so it seems that they weren’t just being nice about it.  I loved them, but I’m a sucker for sweet potatoes so I can’t trust my own judgment.  I would reduce the amount of zest I used though, and the recipe below reflects that change.  The only issue is that I didn’t get a picture until the leftovers were packaged up.  So it’s…umm…quite possibly the least appetizing picture you will ever see on this blog.  The recipe is good though!  I promise.  It’s just a little worse for the wear here…

Honey Citrus Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potatoes adapted from Epicurious

  • 5 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 mild honey
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • juice from one orange
  • zest from half of the orange
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon (I used Makers Mark.  Mister tsked over this and told me to use the cheaper stuff next time, but it’s a holiday and it’s two Tablespoons.  Live a little!)
  • 1 tsp salt

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-2 inch chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium high, mixing until melted and combined.  Continue to boil for ~10 minutes until syrupy.

Pour glaze over sweet potato chunks and toss to coat.

Dump sweet potatoes and all the glaze into a 9×13 pan and bake until the sweet potatoes are tender and the glaze is reduced to a thick syrup. (~30 minutes)

Once or twice while cooking use a rubber spatula to gently mix the tater chunks to assure even cooking and glaze distribution.


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