Let’s just say, for the past few days, planned meals have been non-existent. This bug I’ve got has more or less ruined my appetite, and I’ve been too wiped out to fix anything at all. Good thing we have a well-stocked freezer. And a good thing Chuck can cook.
Generally, the cooking chores are divided here into party cooking and everyday meals. Chuck and I share most of the party cooking, and his métier is desserts. I do just about all of the day-to-day cooking, pot roasts, soups, stews and sauces. There is one fabulous thing that he does make, and in mammoth quantities: a wonderful meat sauce that has almost a creamy quality. He freezes many, many quarts of this sauce and we are down to the last quart, for tonight’s dinner, good thing there’s still one there, since my appetite is coming back. The last quart, shown thawing and heating up for tonight's dinner:
Full of meat and sweet tomatoes, after it cooks for over an hour, he stick blends the whole batch to an almost Bolognese texture. Utterly delicious stuff, it's best over chunky pasta shapes that will hold the sauce. Now all I have to do is persuade him to make another batch this weekend for the freezer.
Chucks Wonderful Meat Sauce
Makes 12 Quarts
Note: This recipe is written verbatim, as like many good cooks, Chuck doesn’t measure everything, just “eyeballs” it.
4T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 lbs. ground veal, beef, and pork mix
1 large yellow onion, quartered
3 28oz. cans whole plum tomatoes
2 28 oz. cans plain tomato sauce
3 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6oz. can tomato paste
4T dried oregano
4T dried basil
Heat the oil in a 16 quart or larger heavy bottom stockpot. Saute the garlic for a few moments until fragrant, and then add the meat and brown, stirring constantly. Add the onion, and the tomatoes, breaking them up by hand, the sauce and the crushed tomatoes. Stir well. Add the tomato paste, oregano and basil. Bring to a simmer, and cook about 1.5 hours until the sauce has reduced somewhat—an inch and a half down in the pot. Remove from the heat, remove any remaining large pieces of onion, and stick blend the contents until smooth.