The weather in West Virginia this fall and early winter has been a soggy mess. So to keep the family warm and fed until the cold of winter freezes up the mud and turns the world to a lovely white. I have been cooking comfort food in the rain. Home made Chili is a easy quick dinner when you make and can the sauce at the peak of tomato season.
Chili sauce from the garden is a family favorite. We have been making this sauce for generations and it can be made fresh from the garden or canned and stored for the long winter. We usually use ground venison as the meat adding a mixture of kidney beans to the sauce when ready to serve.
If you raise tomatoes and sweet bell peppers you can make home made chili sauce with just a little effort. This recipe usually makes 7 to 8 quarts of sauce but you can easily cut the recipe down or double it for a larger family. Each quart of sauce added to one pound of ground meat and two cans of beans makes around 6 to 7 servings of Chili.
For this recipe you need 25 pounds of ripe tomatoes. I usually have about half that ripe at one time in the garden and end up adding some to mine from the farmers market. You can also buy a half bushel of tomatoes at once and make one turn of sauce.
The first step is to wash, core and scald all 25 pounds of tomatoes. I do the best I can coring the tomatoes and leave them whole to scald to remove their skin. The more ripe the tomato the faster and easier it is to remove the skin. I boil about a gallon of water in a large stock pot adding tomatoes until they reach the top of the pot. Boil the tomatoes 3 minutes until skins come lose. Dump hot tomatoes into a cold water bath in a sink and allow to cool. I add a couple of trays of ice to the bath. Refill the cold water bath as it gets warm after adding 5 or 6 pounds of tomatoes at a time. The skins will pull lose easily leaving a nice pealed tomato for chopping.
Next dice up tomatoes with a ruff chop and place in large stock pot to begin to cook down. At this point you will have enough juice to cook the tomatoes with out scorching if you use a Med/High heat.
Next add onion, peppers, garlic, sugar, spices and allowed to cook until everything is soft. Simmering the sauce for about 30 minutes. At this point add tomato paste, 2 cans will help to reduced the amount of water in the sauce. The sauce could be canned at this point if you like a chunky sauce or I put ours through a food mill to remove any seeds, skins and lumps.
(I make small packets of spices to drop in the simmering sauce to make it easier to remove the large seeds and leaves.)
After pressing the sauce through a food mill, heat sauce to boiling and ladle into clean prepared quart jars. I always wash and sterilized at least 9 jars just in case I end up with more then 7 quarts of sauce. Add clean sterilized lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath 20 minutes. No pressure needed with high acid foods like tomato sauce( 20 minutes for quarts and 15 minutes for pints). Each jar will last at least one year after being canned. I rarely make less than 14 quarts at a time.
Garden Chili Sauce
1/2 bushel ripe tomatoes or 25 pounds
1 cup chopped fine hot peppers we use a med hot pepper.
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
1 cup red onion
2 heads of garlic chopped fine this equals about 10 cloves
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 2.0 oz can ground chili powder, more or less to taste
2 small cans tomato paste
1 tablespoon pickling spices, placed in a cheese cloth,
We use Mrs Woods Mixed Pickling Spices but if you do not have Pickling spice, mustard seed, Bay leaves, whole allspice, cinnamon and coriander seeds can be used.
When ready to use add one pound cooked ground meat and two cans of kidney beans simmer and serve.
for more information on canning in a boiling water bath please refer to the Ball Jar Website.