Thursday, September 4, 2014

Red Wine and Thyme Tomato Jam (Recipe 3)

Red Wine and Thyme Tomato Jam
Yes, I know how long it has been since I last posted anything substantive. Yes. And yet, I refuse to feel bad, because a) summer, b) I've been enjoying actually reading books to read them instead of reading them to review them, and c) I've excitingly taken a new job as a library director and, duh, had to learn to do my job. For all other quibbles, I refer you to point the first, otherwise known as a. It was summer, it has been hot, and who really wants to hover over a pot, even a pretty one like my bluetiful Le Creuset?

That said, it has been end of summery, which to me always means the best tomatoes of the year, in quantities you can barely fathom. In fact, when one of my girlfriends went a-honeymooning after her marvelous wedding, she bequeathed me her bountiful, juicy, delicious weekly share of tomatoes from her farmshare. Most survived to see the pot; several were devoured directly on the spot. I've been a fan of tomato jam since I first travelled to the Carolina's and tried it at Asheville's now defunct Tomato Jam cafe. The South is onto something, Northern friends. Tomato jam is where it's at!

Red Wine & Thyme Tomato Jam

Makes roughly 28 oz.

3 lb ripe tomatoes, cores removed and chopped
¾ c + 1tbsp turbinado sugar
5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 medium shallots, minced
1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup red wine
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

1) In a food processor, pulse tomatoes, ¾ c sugar and vinegar until it is finely chopped.
2) In a large Le Crueset/Dutch oven, or huge and deep pan, warm olive oil over medium high and saute shallots, thyme and salt for roughly three minutes until they are soft.  
3) Add the 1 Tbsp sugar to the pot and saute another minute or two over medium until incorporated.
4) Add the wine and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning/sticking to the bottom of the pot and cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated and a rougher liquidy glaze starts forming, roughly 5-7 minutes.
5) Add the tomato mixture, stir, bring to a simmer, and cook for about an hour until the volume of liquid has reduced dramatically and mostly cooked off.  
6)  Serve, or cool and save!

- A lot of the adaptation of this recipe was born of necessity; ie.  I had a LOT of tomatoes, turbinado sugar, and a huge bunch of upped the other ingredients too.  The gist of the idea comes from the Globe’s recipe, though I found their suggested cooktime woefully off, and consulted the Down Home Kitchen cookbook for a much more accurate cooktime 1-1 ½ hours!
- I worked in batches because my food processor is too tiny to accomodate the masses of tomatoes I used.  Just pour into a large bowl and stir when you’re done with all!
- Other versions of this include spices like ginger, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, lemon, etc.  I decided to stick with the basics here, but may experiment with those later!
- I chopped everything very finely, and ran it through a food processor.  If you prefer a much rougher version of this, don’t do that!
- If you can can, can.  If you, like me, are not so proficient, this should keep for about two weeks in the fridge or you can freeze it.  

- This obviously goes well with biscuits.  But some of us don’t readily have access to good biscuits (#notfromthesouth) I’ve tried it on toast, English muffins, as a spread in sandwiches, and on chicken so far.  All good!  

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