Common Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes are so juicy when ripe, that they require but little liquid to reduce them to a proper consistency for sauce; and they vary so exceedingly in size and quality that it is difficult to give precise directions for the exact quantity which is needed for them. Take off the stalks, halve the tomatoes, and gently squeeze out the seeds and watery pulp; then stew them softly with a few spoonsful of gravy or of strong broth until they are quite melted. Press the whole through a hair-sieve, and heat it afresh with a little additional gravy should it be too thick, and some cayenne, and salt. Serve it very hot.

Fine ripe tomatoes, 6 or 8; gravy or strong broth, 4 tablespoonsful: 1/2 to 3/4 hour, or longer if needed. Salt and cayenne sufficient to season the sauce, and two or three spoonsful more of gravy if required.

Observations:

For a large tureen of this sauce, increase the proportions; and should it be at first too liquid, reduce it by quick boiling. When neither gravy nor broth is at hand, the tomatoes may be stewed perfectly tender, but very gently, in a couple of ounces of butter, with some cayenne and salt only, or with the addition of a very little finely minced onion; then rubbed through a sieve, and heated, and served without any addition, or with only that of a teaspoonful of vinegar; or, when the colour is not a principal consideration, with a few spoonsful of rich cream, smoothly mixed with a little flour to prevent its curdling. The sauce must be stirred without ceasing should the last be added, and boiled for four or five minutes.

A Finer Tomato Sauce

Stew very gently a dozen fine red tomatoes, prepared as for the preceding receipt, with two or three sliced eschalots, four or five chilies, or a capsicum or two, or in lieu of either, with a quarter-teaspoonful of cayenne pepper, a few small dice of lean ham, and half a cupful of rich gravy. Stir these often, and when the tomatoes are reduced quite to a smooth pulp, press them through a sieve; put them into a clean saucepan, with a few spoonsful more of rich gravy, or Espagnole, add salt, if needed, boil the sauce, stirring it well, for ten minutes, and serve it very hot. When the gravy is exceedingly good, and highly flavoured, the ham may be omitted: a dozen small mushrooms, nicely cleaned, may also be sliced, and stewed with the tomatoes, instead of the eschalots, when their flavour is preferred, or they may be added with them. The exact proportion of liquid used is immaterial, for should the sauce be too thin, it may be reduced by rapid boiling, and diluted with more gravy if too thick.