My grandma taught me how she makes her gravy meat and meatballs a few years ago. I have the recipe saved on stained and somewhat crumpled note paper and refer to it EVERY TIME, even though I know it by heart. The recipe isn’t even a recipe, really, but a list of ingredients and the order to add them.
While I have made tomato sauce from actual tomatoes (a yummy tomato basil sauce), this is comfort food for me. I decided to make it recently, and thought it may be time to gently tweak it to align better with our food philosphies. Nothing major, of course, but little changes at a time.
The original recipe calls for beef, pork, and veal as the gravy meat. To get all of those meats in the quality I would like (and raised the way I would like) would make this a very cost-prohibitive recipe. This time, I defrosted some grass-fed beef that we had gotten at a GREAT price and just used that. Change #1.
*Note to self for future photography- Don’t take a picture of red meat on the red cutting board.
The next step of the recipe calls for browning garlic and then the meat in vegetable oil, then removing the meat, adding tomato paste, and then draining off the excess oil. I decided to just use butter, and leave it in there.
The sauce itself is made of 2 small cans ( oz) of tomato paste, 2 large cans (15 oz) of tomato sauce, and 2 15 oz cans worth of water. This would be the next step that I will tweak. Next year I am hoping to can my own tomatoes and tomato sauce, so I can nix the canned stuff.
*Fun Fact- The tomato cans for this recipe, clams, tuna are the only canned goods to be found in my pantry right now. Actually, they are usually the only canned goods in there.
Back to the sauce. It all gets stirred up well, until the paste and sauce meld.
Then it is seasoned. I like to use this sauce for macaroni and pizza, so I don’t over season it. This batch had oregano, basil, sea salt, pepper, and fresh parsley (because that is the only fresh herb I have on hand). Add the meat back in and bring it to a boil. When it does, turn it to a simmer and let it cook until it is thick. I leave the top 1/2 on the pot, since it can splatter.
When it was finished, I scooped the meat out and then threw (read: carefully poured through a funnel) the rest into some mason jars.
*Fun Fact- I needed to pick up another set of mason jars. Around our new house, EVERY SINGLE STORE has them. I mean, drugstores, big box stores, hardware stores, you name it. I was going shopping near work, however, which is about 1/2 hour closer to NYC. I just ASSUMED that the stores there would have them. Not so. Target and CVS had never heard of them. Shoprite looked at me like I was CRAZY for suggesting they might have it. As a last resort I ran to the hardware store near our old apartments only to find that it was closed down. Forever. Sigh. I had no idea there was such a small market for Mason Jars. Apparently I am a hick now or something. Oh well. I love it.
This post was featured on Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Fight Back Fridays at Real Food Renegade!