Saturday Sauce

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I really can’t claim this recipe at all, this is all Michael Symon, however I’m including it for a specific reason and giving all credit to him. In his book “Live to cook” he has a recipe called Yia Yia’s Sunday Sauce (page 229), and when I first read it I could almost smell and taste the sauce because it just sounded so incredible.
If you haven’t read this book, then you should buy it and read it cover to cover, it will make you a better cook and also give you some awesome recipes to put some incredible food on your table at home. Don’t google recipes from it, go buy the book it is the ethical and morally right thing to do!

The problem I ran in to when I went to gather ingredients to make the sauce is where I live, and that is the reason I’m including this here. All of the ingredients are obtainable, I’m not trying to make it sound like I live completely disconnected from the world, however some of them are only available from the internet, or you are paying such a premium price it’s just not economically worth it to buy them. So I made a few changes to the recipe and ended up with an amazing sauce that has several uses.

I’ll go through the items that I changed out, and explain why then we will get to the recipe:

Canned San Marzano tomatoes- There are a couple of places locally that you can buy these, however they generally run about $8 for a 28oz can. That’s not very cost effective, and my wife would skin me if I bought two cans for a batch of sauce. So obviously I purchased a basic brand of canned tomatoes but I knew by doing so that the end result of the sauce would be less than what it could be. For that reason I also went to the produce department and purchased some sun dried tomatoes. A package of these can last a really long time, and you only need to use one sun dried tomato for each batch of sauce so they are cost effective to buy, if you use them properly.

Meaty Beef Bones- The three grocery stores within reason from my house do not have beef bones available to buy (sad, I know). There are a couple of locations in the area where you could maybe buy some on certain days however the drive wouldn’t be worth it for just one ingredient. With the price of gas what it is, you could be tripling the price of an ingredient just driving to the next town to try and find it.
However, most stores in this area do have Pork Neck Bones available and even though that brings a slightly different flavor profile, it’s still delicious.
So I substitute these two ingredients in the sauce and the end result is a wonderful, versatile and incredibly flavorful sauce.

I use this as a sauce over pasta, as a braising liquid for roast, over white rice with a piece of fish, or just simmer it in a skillet and add an egg or two and finish with some parmesan cheese.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Large Yellow onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
Kosher salt (to taste)
2 28 ounce cans of canned tomatoes (whole)
1 cup dry white wine
2 pounds pork neck bones
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 sun dried tomato

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook them for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic and then salt and cook for a few minutes longer.
Open the canned tomatoes and squeeze them one by one into the pot, you really want to smash them with your hands, and don’t forget to add the juice from the can’s as well. Add the wine and neck bones, bay leaf, oregano, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring everything to a simmer then reduce the heat and just let it cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Adjust the seasonings after tasting then remove the bones, and bay leaf.
I usually will use about half of the sauce right away, the other half I let cool to room temperature then put in a freezer bag and freeze for later use. The book says it will be good frozen for up to 2 months, but I have never had it around for that long because I can’t wait to eat it again!

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Corn Sauce- Amaizing? Give this a try!

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Corn Sauce, I realize that it doesn’t sound that sexy.  However this is one sauce that I turn to a lot in the kitchen for several different uses.  What started as a way to bring one more level of flavor to a dish, has evolved in to something that I keep finding uses for.

Where it began- A few years back I participated in a cooking competition in which I had several weeks to determine what I wanted to prepare. It was simple, four courses with one hour to complete them all.  The menu that I had developed at the establishment I was working at had a really nice sandwich on the menu of smoked trout, and a fried green tomato.  It was served with an herb aioli and was pretty popular on our menu.  I wanted to bring this dish to the competition however I wasn’t going to serve a sandwich.  The flavor combinations were good, however I felt that it needed one more component in order to truly make it special.  So after thinking about what would compliment a fried green tomato and trout on a plate I came to the conclusion that a nice fresh ear of corn would be the perfect compliment to what we were already going to have on the plate.  I knew that I didn’t want the judges to have to pick up an ear of corn or fish after pieces of corn on the plate with their fork, so the only answer was to make a sauce that would bring that flavor and not disturb what I already was going to put on the plate.   This is what I came up with, I hope you give it a try!

 

You can use fresh corn, or frozen corn to make this sauce.  I do not recommend canned corn however.

 

What you will need:

1 One pound bag of frozen corn

1 Carrot cut in large pieces

1 Stalk of Celery cut in large pieces

1/2 Red Onion peeled

2 Cloves of Garlic whole

1/2 Pound of Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heavy Cream

 

Use a small sauce pot, or large skillet that will comfortably hold all of the ingredients and place it over medium heat.  Keep in mind through this whole process that you do not want to use high heat.  You’re just trying to extract flavors and bring them together.  Tying to speed up the process with high heat will not help you with the end product in any way.

Place the butter in the skillet that you’re going to use and when it begins to melt pour in the corn, and add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and season everything with salt and pepper.  Give everything a good stir and just let it come to a simmer.  This may take some time, but it is worth the wait.  Once a simmer is reached, give everything a good stir again and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let the skillet set and cool to room temperature.

Remove the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic and spoon the corn in to a blender.  You want all of the corn, and butter in the blender and then blend on high, add a small amount of heavy cream in order to reach the consistency that you want.  Let the blender run on high until the sauce is smooth.  Turn off the blender and taste the sauce, adjust seasoning as needed.  Depending on the application I am going to use the sauce for I will pour it in to a strainer and allow it to drain through.  Most generally I will just use it as is.

In the end you will have a very flavorful sauce that brings a really strong corn flavor to several different applications.

Uses:

Roasted Garlic and Cumin Pork Loin

Grilled Pork Chops (Pictured above)

Fried Green Tomato and Smoked Trout

As an accompaniment to a Black Bean, Red Onion Salad- just toss with the salad and you have a south west treat

Stirred in to Polenta just as it is about to be finished cooking, This makes the Polenta a star on the plate, not an afterthought.

These are all things that I have used this sauce for.  And each time it is received very well.  Corn Sauce may not sound like something earth shattering, however if your goal is to bring flavor to the plate then you should certainly give this a try.