One of the great joys of summer is the homegrown tomatoes. Homegrown or locally-grown farm fresh tomatoes always seem to taste better than the commercial alternatives. This is our traditional Turkish/Gagauz dish that my grandma used make. It’s called Tomato “Manja” with vegetables. Manja- means sauce or gravy. She used to make this sauce in large batches and can it; and during those cold winter days she would use this sauce for almost anything (Golubtsi- Russian Stuffed cabbage, rice dishes, potato, soups or just as a dip).
4 lb. ripe red or yellow meaty tomatoes
2 large onions, diced
4 carrots- grated
7-8 cloves garlic – crushed
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian Parsley or basil leaves, torn into pieces
Salt, to taste
Direction for the sauce:
Skin the tomatoes- First gently cut an “X” at the base of the fruit (about 1″ x 1″). Heat a pot of boiling water and add the tomatoes in batches, cooking just a few minutes to break the skin down.
Take them out of the boiling water and dunk them into ice water. This helps the skins come off cleaner and faster. Remove the seeds if you’d like (they don’t bother me, so I left the seeds in).
Cut the tomatoes into 1/2” cubes. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan; add onions and garlic and sauté for few minutes. Add carrots and sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and black pepper and cook at a low/ simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Add fresh Italian parsley, adjust seasonings to taste.
Direction for canning:
Fill your canner or big pot with water and add jars, bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. This made 4 pint jars for me.
Once the sauce is ready, remove the jars from the pot and carefully empty them (pouring the hot water back into the pot). Put them on a towel. Fill the jars, leaving a little bit of space at the top, about a quarter inch.
Wipe the rim of the jar, and place the lid and tighten the screw band. If any jars don’t seal properly, store in the refrigerator and use it first.