Hearty Meat Sauce with Garlic and Herbs

I made a hearty meat sauce the night before last because I didn't have anything to take with me to work for lunch the next day. I made a similar thick meat sauce when I was doing Whole 30 and needed some protein one night. I use the word "sauce" liberally here, because there's more meat than liquid, mainly from cooking the mixture down for a while. I like to eat this by itself as my protein, or it can be used in recipes. For instance, I used this as a sauce for a pizza recipe that I made tonight! I will post the recipe soon.

As with any recipe where you reduce any sauce, I suggest seasoning with salt towards the end because what may taste salty enough in the beginning may become too salty once reduced. Also, I use one of my secrets for making good meat sauce: instead of adding sugar to balance the sauce flavor, add balsamic vinegar because it adds a different kind of sweetness without actually adding sugar.

Hearty Meat Sauce with Garlic and Herbs
Printable Recipe

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef, preferably grass-fed
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, crumbling it into small pieces with your spoon or spatula.
2. When the meat is cooked, add the garlic and herbs and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant.
3. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low. Season with pepper, but be careful with adding salt because the sauce will reduce and may make the mixture too salty. Simmer about an hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture sticks to the bottom, lower the heat instead of adding water. The point is to cook the sauce down and concentrate the tomato flavor.
4. Finally, when the mixture is very thick, add the vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper, simmer a few more minutes to combine, then serve.

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