Monday, September 14, 2009

Vegan meat sauce

We accidentally made an amazing vegan meat sauce the other day. How does one accidentally make sauce? That's where happy accidents come in. I'd love to say I planned it out, but I actually only meant to make a fresh, summery marinara to serve over angel hair.

I started off with a miropoix, cooked until brown and caramelized and wonderful. I learned this trick from Anne Burrell on her show, Secrets of a Restraunt Chef. She kinda bothers me, but she has good tips, too. (I like her better when she's soux cheffing on Iron Chef). It adds amazing depth to almost anything, in particular tomato sauces. To this we added fresh tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped.

I follow the tried and true canning trick to remove tomato skins. You score an X on the tomato bottom then drop it into boiling water for about 20 or 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water. By the time you get a few into the water, the skins are loose enough to come off with barely any effort. Apparently this works with peaches, too, but I've never tried it.

Anyway, as we were doing all this with the tomatoes, the ones in the pan cooked down a bit further than we wanted them to. We added red wine to deglaze and to add liquid. Long story short, the sauce was almost burgundy dark, incredibly complex and wonderfully rich. It almost seemed unctuous, though there wasn't any meat at all. We threw it a bunch of fresh oregano and basil, and that helped to bring it a bit further towards the fresh. It was more of a fall dish than intended, but it was frankly incredible. :o) Serendipity in the kitchen.

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