One of the reasons that I have been a little quiet in recent times, is the abundance of tomatoes the garden has given us! We were picking up to 7 kilograms at a time, and that meant that the kitchen was where I needed to be.
This season I planted quite a variety of tomatoes:
- Andy – so named, because the seeds were carefully saved and given to us by Lucette, who was our neighbour before we moved from the city to the country. Her late husband, Andy, used to grow these tomatoes and each year a basket or two would appear on our doorstep.
- Black Cherry
- Cherry Roma
- Cuor di Bue
- Green Zebra
- Licase di Apulia
- Rouge de Marmande – a beautiful tomato – close to one of my favourites
- San Marzano
- Sweet Berry Truss – the sweetest little tomatoes – I had saved the seed from these when I purchased the fruit the previous summer.
- Yellow Pear
With all of these tomatoes, there was only one thing to do. Preserve! I bottled whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato puree and mixed cherry/tiny tomatoes in tomato juice.
Gary was in charge of the epepineuse and whenever tomatoes needed to be pureed and strained, he stepped in. I made tomato sauce, not the kind you have with pasta – this is the only tomato sauce we new when were growing up. It was always there to have with grilled or barbequed sausages and meats, and is perfect with cold roast meat such as lamb or beef.
Tomato relish was prepared and cooked as was tomato juice, tomato jam, green tomato jam (from the green zebra tomatoes) and tomato jelly. The cherry romas were semi-dried in the dehydrator and vac-packed and frozen.
Tomato peels also went into the dehydrator, as was the waste from the tomato jelly. When totally dried, it went into the thermomix and ground into tomato powder/dust. The tomato powder will replace tomato paste in recipes during the year. A little of the tomato powder was also used to create a delicious tomato salt
Naturally many meals were prepared using tomatoes, including the Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Flowers from my last post. There were tomato tarts and so on, and last night I made Braised Chicken with White Wine and Tomatoes.
This meal celebrates (or commiserates) the end of the tomato season in our garden, but fortunately, with the larder now well stocked, there will be no end of tomato goodies from our garden to enjoy throughout the year.
Braised Chicken with White Wine and Tomatoes, or Pollo in Potacchio, is a delicious Italian dish prepared with a few simple ingredients.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken thigh fillets
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary plus 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 125 ml white wine
- 400 g of good quality tinned tomatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Preheat your oven to 200˚C.
Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes each side, until golden, then add the garlic, oregano and finely chopped rosemary, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced, then add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Tuck the two sprigs of rosemary in amongst the chicken, cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook the chicken for a further 10 minutes.
Serve hot with crispy roasted potatoes with rosemary.
- I used a jar of home preserved cherry tomatoes in tomato puree from the larder.
- You can use chicken marylands, chicken thigh fillets, chicken thighs and/or drumsticks with skin on or off, as you choose.
Until next time…
Bon appétit! & happy gardening.