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Aug 11, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch - Slow Cooker

5 lbs.  tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 – 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef or sausage
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Bay leaves
1/4 c. red wine

Start with the tomatoes.  They need to be peeled.  I was tempted not to peel them, but then I thought of times when I use canned tomatoes and a bit of peel gets in there.  It’s tough and unpleasant.  Peel the tomatoes.  It’s easy to do.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  I use my electric tea pot to get water hot quickly.  The pot does not have to be big enough to hold all the tomatoes.  I did four at a time. Also have a bowl of ice water ready to put the boiled tomatoes into.  Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and set your timer for 1 minute.  That’s all it takes and slightly less time is better than more.  As soon as the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge them in the ice water.  Add the next batch of tomatoes to the pot and set your timer again until all the tomatoes have been boiled.

Doing this step doesn’t take long and it makes removing the skins so easy.  They slide right off the tomato, and sometimes just fall off.   Once the tomatoes are peeled, slice them in half and use your finger to remove the seeds.  You might need to slice them again the same direction to remove more seeds.

Now chop the tomatoes.  The size is up to you.  Place them in a colander while you work on the rest of the sauce.  Put a bowl underneath if you want to save the tomato juice.  Draining the tomatoes will help keep the sauce from being too watery.

Brown the ground beef or sausage.  When it is halfway done, add the onions and garlic to soften them up some.  They cook slowly in the crock pot and I like my onions well done.  Drain.

Add everything except the wine to your slow cooker and stir to mix.  The herbs can be adjusted to taste.  Cover it and cook on high 3 – 3 1/2 hours or low 6 – 6 1/2 hours.   Stir in the wine, turn the cooker to high if you had it on low,  and cook another 30 minutes.  Remove the lid during this time if the sauce is too thin.  This makes a large batch of sauce so you can freeze the extra or plan to use it for more than one meal.

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