Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Peasant sauce (leave out Chorizo for Vegetarian)

I was given this receipe by a friend nearly 35 years ago. The tale he told me was that the peasants in Europe made very large quantities of this sauce to have with pasta, sometimes reheating several times over a period of days. The longer the sauce cooked, the more flavour it took on. The first time I tried it I couldn’t believe how few staple ingredients were used, and of course in these days of recession when added to pasta it makes a low cost dish, particularly if cooking for large numbers.

The sauce is versatile and is suitable for accompanying filled and plain pasta, couscous, rice, quorn, jacket potatoes, turkey, chicken or as the base for a stew or casserole.

It is ALWAYS better to pre-cook and with no fresh meat (chorizo and salami are preserved) in the sauce it can be cooked several days before it is needed.

The ingredients below will make enough for 8-12 people. I like to make a large batch and freeze in portions. It saves a lot of labour when you need a quick meal!

Credit to David Able for the original recipe; my version has evolved over the years and so I can’t be sure that it relates exactly to its provinence.

Preparation Time 30 mins
Cooking Time as long as you’ve got! preferably at least 2 hours
Suitable for pre-cooking Better pre-cooked
Wheat Free Yes
Vegetarian, Vegan
Yes (Equally good without salami/chorizo. However, important to add plenty of garlic and seasoning)
Egg Free Yes
Dairy Free Yes
Gluten Free Yes

Ingredients for the peasant sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 finely chopped large onions
6 finely chopped cloves of garlic
3 400gr tins of chopped tomatoes
1 dsp brown sugar (to counteract the bitterness of burning or “catching”)
(For non vegetarian) Chorizo finely chopped to taste. I used 6 tapas chorizo (about 150gr) but you can use any type of chorizo or salami
Approx 1 pint of stock (can use vegetarian stock)
1/2 tsp of herbs de Provence (or mixed herbs will do)
1/4 tsp of salt
pinch of pepper

Dice the onions and garlic finely. I usually use a wok for this sauce because as the liquid evaporates, the sauce splatters the hob (refer back to my predilection for a tidy kitchen!) Put the vegetable oil, onions and garlic in the wok and brown.

Add three tins of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. As the sauce starts to thicken, gradually add the stock.

This sauce gains its flavour by drying and sticking very slightly to the bottom of the wok; the burning or “catching” of the sauce gives a rich rustic flavour – hence being christened peasant sauce. Taste the sauce 1/4 of an hour before serving; season with salt, pepper, herbs and sugar to taste.