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Recipe: Julia's Classic French Tomato Sauce

We've adapted this recipe for tomato sauce from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We don't know if the French have been making tomato sauce as long as the Italians, but this sauce is one of the five traditional French "mother sauces," which are all delicious on their own or as bases for variations made with added ingredients. This sauce is rich in savory flavor from gently cooked vegetables and ham and the addition of our hearty brown stock. Enjoy it over pasta or in any dish that calls for a good tomato sauce.

Ingredients

Makes
about 2 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 ounce Glace de Viande Gold® dissolved in 2 cups hot water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced peeled carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced ham
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 3 cups canned tomatoes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 unpeeled cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste, as needed

Methods/steps

  1. Bring the diluted Glace de Viande Gold® to as simmer in a small saucepan.  Keep it at low simmer.
  2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and ham and cook them slowly until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the ham and vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the simmering Glace de Viande Gold®.  Return the pan to the heat and stir in the tomatoes, salt, sugar, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, skimming occasionally and adding a small amount of water if the sauce reduces and thickens too much.
  5. Strain the sauce, pressing the juice out of the ingredients.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.  If you feel the sauce lacks color, stir in some tomato paste and simmer again for 5 minutes.
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Classic French Stocks and Sauces