So with some basic advice from family and trial and error over a year or two I finally arrived at something that seems to work. I vary the ingredients slightly every time but that's allowed.
The picture above shows most of the ingredients and utensils I use to make the sauce. Here's the recipe.
3 tins crushed tomatoes
1 large onion
1 bulb garlic - they were small this time so I used two.
2 stalks celery
3 pounds ground beef, approximately. I used two 800 cg (1.6 kg) packs this time - about 3.5 pounds
1 green pepper. You can use red, yellow or orange but they tend to be more expensive.
1 pack mushrooms cut coursely
1/2 hot jalapeno pepper
1 pinch cumin - it balances the hot pepper
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa - the package should list only one ingredient - cocoa.
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix
enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot
Set the heat to low.
Add olive oil.
Chop the onion and add it.
Chop the garlic and add it.
Stir until it changes.
Add the ground beef. chop it up with the spatula and stir it into the onions and garlic.
Add the spices, chopped celery, chopped peppers and chopped mushrooms.
The LAST thing to go in is the crushed tomatoes.
Stir a bit. At this point it won't stir easily. You just want the crushed tomatoes to settle in a bit.
Stir every half hour for three to four hours. When the oil starts to separate out it's more or less done.
Allow it to cool. Portion it out and freeze. Reheat portions as needed in a saucepan on the stove, not in the microwave. I typically get 12 to 17 single servings.
With this particular batch I got 16 servings.
The next three pictures show the cooking progress.
|This shows all the ingredients in the pot, which|
is on the element but hasn't really heated up yet.
|In this picture the sauce has been cooking|
for about an hour and stirred twice.
In the picture above the sauce has cooked for two hours and forty-five minutes. As I was pressed for time I called it finished and turned off the heat to let it cool before portioning it out. The sauce does continue to cook as it cools. If I had more time I would keep cooking it for another hour or two.
|This shows some of the portions in the freezer.|
|This portion has been in the freezer for a day and a half.|
I make sure to get all the ice bits in the lid into the saucepan for reheating. I have to watch it when reheating because it is very easy to burn the sauce at this stage. I start with medium heat and as soon as the block of sauce can be broken up with a spatula I reduce it to low and then minimum.
There you go. Spaghetti on the table, ready to eat, and it was quite good.