Smoked Tomato Sauce, Southwest Flavors

Tomatoes, sweet and sour, and smoke flavor.  Those would be the fundamental flavors of what?  BBQ sauce, of course.  Convert these flavors into a righteous tomato sauce, and you will be sitting on gold.  I mean GOLD.  I love this sauce.  It’s easy to make, is so versatile and pushes so much flavor into anything you make with it.  Right now, I have a small container in my fridge.  I use it by itself, for finishing sauces, for marinades, and for added ‘kick’ in whatever it is I’m making.  It works best with southwest cuisine, but really compliments everything.

If you like this sauce, and as long as even slightly enjoy southwest cuisine, you will; you may find, as I have, that this sauce becomes a culinary staple.  Something to keep in your arsenal of pantry weapons at all times.  It’s that good.  And easy.

Smoked Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time:  20 minutes
Yield:  2 cups


4 ripe roma tomatoes, stems removed
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 chipotle pepper (NOT in sauce)
1 dried ancho pepper
1/2 yellow onion, rough chop
1/2 cup sugar
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp whole cumin
1/2 tsp whole coriander
2ea allspice
1 tsp vegetable oil


In a medium sized sauce pot, begin heating the oil.  Add the tomatoes and sear until the skin becomes dark and blistered.  Make sure to turn occasionally.  Add the onion, garlic and dried peppers and continue to cook until the onions are slightly caramelized.  Season with salt. Add the sugar and 1 tbsp water.  Continue to cook until the sugar is thick and bubbling.  Add the vinegar, cilantro, smoke and dried spices.  Stir to thoroughly combine.  Add the stock (or water) and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat to medium and reduce by about 1/3.  Remove from the stove and transfer to a bar blender.  Blend until very smooth.  Reseason with salt.

The sauce is now ready.

Use by itself (especially with roast or grilled chicken), as a marinade, as a finishing sauce or as a component of other dishes, like black bean stews or pork carnitas.


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