You can use any kind of large ripe tomatoes, from beefsteak to Roma or plum. This is absolutely the recipe to grab when you need to make something simple to use up all of those gorgeous tomatoes in your garden, which always become ripe in a big rush of a glut! Or maybe you get bedazzled at the farmers’ market, as I do, and end up with quite a tomato haul during July through September.
The definition of stewing is cooking something fairly slowly at low heat in liquid until everything is soft and tender. That is exactly what is happening with these tomatoes, only most of the liquid they are stewed in are their own juices, with a bit of butter added. Unlike other “stewed” dishes, like those made with meat, the stewing of tomatoes is a fairly speedy process, as the vegetable quickly softens in the pan.
I think stewed tomatoes look best with red tomatoes, but there is no reason you can use other colors. There is something about classic red stewed tomatoes that really has a lot of eye appeal, though, so I end up sticking to the single color most of the time.
Difference Between Canned and Stewed Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are often canned on their own, with just the addition of a bit of sugar and some salt. Occasionally other seasonings like basil will be included, but that is usually noted on the can. Stewed tomatoes usually have other seasonings involved, whether homemade or canned. They are usually slightly sweeter than canned tomatoes and may have other herbs, spices, and vegetables added.
Great homemade stewed tomatoes shouldn’t be cooked down until they become mush. They are cooked just enough to caramelize a bit and soften the tomatoes, but they should still have some texture to them.
How to Peel Tomatoes
You don’t absolutely have to peel the tomatoes before cooking them in this dish (or other cooked tomato dishes) but it makes for a nicer eating experience. The skins are completely edible, but they will separate from the flesh of the tomatoes and interfere a bit with the silky texture of the dish. I recommend taking a few extra moments to peel tomatoes before stewing them.
Peeling tomatoes is quite quick and easy, though. All you have to do is dunk the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about a minute, then remove them, let them cool for a couple of minutes, and the skins peel off very easily.
Bread in Stewed Tomatoes
In some stewed tomato recipes, you will see that a piece of torn white bread is added towards the end of the cooking time. This provides some thickness to the sauce, as the bread absorbs some of the excess tomato juice, and binds it all together. Leftover bread, even bread that is a bit stale, is perfect. In this recipe, the bread is optional — if you prefer a looser stewed tomato mixture, leave it out. If you’d like it thicker, stir it in. The bread almost dissolves into the mixture.
Stewed Tomatoes: Slow cooked so they become soft and sweet, these tomatoes can be used and served in so many different ways!Tweet This
How to Serve Stewed Tomatoes
Stewed tomatoes are a dish on their own! They can be served on their own next to a simple piece of grilled, roasted, or broiled anything. Think about chicken, fish, steaks, and pork chops. Or heap them on pasta or rice. Really, almost any protein or starch pairs well with the rich, sweet, cooked tomatoes.
Or you can use the stewed tomatoes as the base of a soup, casserole, pasta sauce, or stew. They also make a great base for shakshuka. Just sub them in for canned tomatoes in your favorite recipes, and you’ll be amazed by the difference your own cooked tomatoes make. They will brighten and enhance any recipe you use them in. Unlike raw tomatoes, which can be mealy or not, and soften well when added to cooked dishes, stewed tomatoes meld right into the dish.
How to Make Stewed Tomatoes
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling carefully, add the tomatoes 3 at a time. Let cook in the hot water for 60 seconds, then remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining three tomatoes to the pot, and when the blanched tomatoes are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin. Repeat with the second batch of tomatoes.
Cut the tomatoes into eight wedges each. Melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Then add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes, until slightly tender and golden. Add the tomatoes and the sugar, season with salt and pepper, and add the cloves.
Cover and simmer, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have reached the desired consistency. If you want a thicker stewed tomato mixture, stir in the little pieces of bread during the last five minutes of cooking. This will thicken the sauce.
Stewed tomatoes can be kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Rewarm the tomatoes in a pot over low heat on the stove. Or, in the microwave, stirring occasionally until just warmed through.
You can add any of the following to stewed tomatoes.
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Minced green bell pepper
- More or less sugar, to taste
- Bay leaf
- Fresh or fried herbs, such as oregano or marjoram
What To Eat With Stewed Tomatoes
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- 6 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced onions
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt and freshy ground pepper (to taste)
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 slice white bread (crusts removed and torn into small pieces, optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling carefully add the tomatoes 3 at a time. Let cook in the hot water for 60 seconds, then remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining three tomatoes to the pot, and when the blanched tomatoes are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin. Repeat with the second batch of tomatoes.
- Cut the tomatoes into eight wedges each. Melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Then add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes, until slightly tender and golden. Add the tomatoes and the sugar, season with salt and pepper and add the cloves. Cover and simmer, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have reached the desired consistency. If you want a thicker stewed tomato mixture, stir in the little pieces of bread during the last five minutes of cooking which will thicken the sauce.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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