Browning the veggies and beef for this rich, rustic sauce is key to developing its flavor. Simmering, while reducing the sauce, concentrates the flavor. Spending time to make the sauce today yields several meals later on.
Yield: 4 (2-cup) packages
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: Simmer sauce for 2 hours or longer
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced, about 1 ½ cups
2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced, about 1 cup
3 medium celery ribs, diced, about 1 cup
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 1 tablespoon
3 pounds ground beef (chuck, brisket or ground round)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups red wine
1 quart home made beef broth, or low sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beef to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the beef is browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes more. Pour in the red wine and simmer until the wine reduces by half, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
Pour in enough stock to cover the beef. Add the thyme and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce. Continue simmering the sauce for two hours. Add additional beef stock to the sauce as it evaporates. The idea is to create a rich depth of flavor by reducing and then adding stock.
Cool the sauce to room temperature. Divide into several airtight containers, mark with the date, and store in the freezer for up to two months.
To heat the sauce, thaw the package in the refrigerator, or in a sink with chilled water. Slowly reheat the sauce in a pot over medium heat.