(No pictures at this time of the cooking process, my photo was my leftover sauce )
I made some great meat sauce that I was very proud of last night. I made Beef Merlot by Chef John Foodwish.com, this past weekend using "my method", and it was amazingly good! I will post recipe one day LOL, when I have time. But making that recipe helped me with the idea of using Wine to cook with. Now this may not be a new idea for anyone else, but for me it was something new that I "learned". I have used wine before to cook my Spaghetti Sauce only I did not enjoy it as much, and bc the cost of wine is an expensive ingredient I choose not to use wine.
I LOVE TRADER JOES and I am sorry they are not in every state and city. They make the cost of cooking less expensive therefore more achievable to cook other items on a tight budget. They have a cheap wine they nickname "Two Buck Chuck", its called Charles Shaw. It is their "house wine" and it use to be $2.00, why it had the nickname, the current price is now $2.50 a bottle. The wine is the best wine I have tasted for under $5! Its even better if you let it breath (or just uncork) for a few hours, or better yet for a day or two. So using wine in my recipes is easier because it is more budget friendly. If you are not able to go to TJ, Walmart actually has a cheep wine for $3, I use to buy that in the past, but I enjoy TJ wine more. So this post is suppose to be about??? LOL Oh yes, Meat Sauce! My meat sauce turned out successfully using wine this time, and with Two Buck Chuck I will do again, and again and again :)
My tip for using Canned Tomatoes is this...Don't buy the cans of Tomato Sauce, buy either Whole Tomatoes or Crushed Tomatoes, why? Personally I find that the more they cook the tomatoes it changes the flavor and the canned Tomatoes (with the exception if you can them yourself) taste more bitter. So I have found better success NOT using Canned Tomato Sauce.
2 - 29oz cans of Crushed Tomatoes
1 14 oz can of Diced Tomato
1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
Pkg of 4 Sweet Italian Sausage (I used Trader Joes)
1/2 Cup of Red Wine ( I used what was open Shiraz)
1 Medium Yellow Onion (I was able to buy Organic Yellow onions 3lb bag for $2 )
4 cloves of Garlic (diced)
Dried Herbs: 1 tablespoon of Sweet Basil, 1/8 teaspoon of (or pinch) Rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon of Thyme. Then Salt (if need, only measure 1 teaspoon of Salt) & Pepper to season to taste.
Place a heavy pot on high heat and break up ground meat into large chunks, just use your hands. You want the meat to brown for 2 mins, then add diced onion and cook for 1 min then turn heat down to a medium-high heat. Let cook for 5 min. Then add 1/2 cup of wine. Cook until wine seems reduced and creates a thick type of sauce, the texture of chocolate syrup. Took me about 5 mins to get the right consistency. Next add diced garlic and all the dried seasoning and salt & pepper. Stir together until combined let simmer for 1 min. Next add cans of Tomato sauce and diced tomato. Let simmer, in the mean time take each link of Sweet Italian Sausage and cut into 3 sections, about 2 or 3 inches thick. Once your sauce has began to simmer add sausage to pot. Place lid on pit and turn down temperature to a Low simmer, depending on how your stove top radiates heat will depend on what temperature this requires. I have to place mine on a level 2, then on Low. Let cook for at least 2 hours.
You could cook this for longer then 2 hours, just be careful not to let liquid reduce so much that it burns, you may need to add 1/2 cup of water after the 3rd hour. If you plan on letting this simmer for longer then 3 hours, I would add extra wine in the beginning because adding water will water down the flavors. So use 3/4 cup of wine at the beginning of processes. If you want to use a crock pot, make sure your brown the meat,onions and reduce wine in a separate pot/pan, then add to crock pot once your are ready to place cans of Tomatoes and simmer on low for 8hrs.
The total cost for this sauce was about $10, I am able to get at least 8 to 10 servings. It all depends of course how much you are able to buy your ground meat, sausage and cans of tomatoes. The ground meat at Trader Joes is $2.50 for 1lb, and the sausages cost $3.00. I was able to buy the 29oz can of Crushed tomato for $1.29 each and the diced tomato for $.59 and of course my bottle of wine was $2.50 (only used 1/2 cup though).
Next I will be using my leftover Meat Sauce to make into a Soup as an alternative leftover recipe. Of course I LOVE meat sauce and spaghetti and would always eat it the original way it was intended for LOL but my Mr.Tasteful prefers to eat pasta once a week. So with the exception of about 2 cups I have reserved for myself to use with pasta, I will have about 3 cups leftover to use in a soup.
I know this is a horrible picture!!! I am ashamed to post it, but I never got around to taking a picture. But this was my sauce the next day after I removed my 3 cups for my Leftover Meat Sauce soup. I will try and take a picture when I make my leftovers.I can tell by this picture how important presentation is, please do not let this discourage you from trying this recipe. It is a good one!