18 October 2012

The Butcher's Sauce - Random Recipes

an ode to orange ... 

What's at 'the back of  beyond' in your cupboard  (or freezer, in my case) ? This month's Random Recipe challenge was to reach into the back of your pantry and bring out a box, can, bag, packet, what ever! Next, go to a cookbook and find a recipe that uses that 'forgotten' ingredient. Well, that's clever, Dom!

We all have more than one 'forgotten' something in the back of our cupboards! I,  however, needed to start cleaning out the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, so I reached deep and shuffled around until I grabbed a baggy of rock hard mystery meat - it turned out to be a combo bag of ground pork and ground beef - a sure sign that it was leftovers from making a tourtiere or meatballs.

My next move was to leaf through Michele Scicilone's book The Italian Slow Cooker until I found a sauce called The Butcher's Sauce. Michele calls this sauce a use-it-up recipe, as it has three types of meat, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, white wine, and the classic carrots, onions, celery trio of flavour builders. For me, it really turned into a clean out the fridge meal, as I had two containers of tomato product - sauce and tomatoes, half a can of tomato paste, and the last of some Sauvignon blanc that needed to be used up. Huzzah, Dom! Thanks for helping a real pack rat start to lighten the load in the freezer and fridge!


After six hours of low simmering, we had the most wonderful tomato sauce that we used to top some rigatoni pasta ... a side of frizzled kale with garlic and red pepper flakes, a crusty bread, and a glass of wine made for an easy dinner. Bravo, Random Recipes! I can hardly wait to see what others have done with their 'forgotten ingredients' !

... leftevers for the lunch guests who will never know that they're eating 'two days ago' ... until now ... ooops!

Ten cups of Butcher's Sauce goes a long way. We might have frozen it, but why bother when it warms perfectly for lunch a couple days later? Besides, frozen, it might be shoved to the back of the freezer again and that would never do!

The Butcher’s Sauce
a Michele Scicolone recipe


1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
½ lb. ground lamb
2 generous tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
½ c. dry white wine
2 – 28 oz. cans peeled tomatoes packed in tomato puree

This recipe may be made on stovetop or in the slow cooker. Stove top preparation requires a simmering plate for your sauce pot ... otherwise, the sauce will tend to stick as getting a low enough simmer is difficult. You'll have to stir the pot more frequently anyway. Just sayin' ...

If you have a crockpot with no 'sear' settings, do the initial fry-up of vegetables and meats on the stove in a deep big fry pan, then scrape everything into the crockpot and add the tomatoes. Proceed with Step 4.

  1. To begin, set the slow cooker on a sear setting at 350 °F. When it has begun to warm up, add the olive oil.
  2. When the sear temp has been reached, add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook until the onions are becoming golden and translucent.
  3. Add the meats in small amounts, crumbling into small lumps. Brown all the meat and then add the tomato paste and dry white wine, stirring to make the beginnings of a sauce and incorporate the tomato paste.
  4. Cover the slow cooker pot and set the cooker for ‘High’ and the timer for 4 hours.
  5. When the sauce begins to simmer, remove the cover and add the cans of tomatoes, crushing each tomato in your fist and adding the puree over all. Give everything a stir and replace the cover.
  6. Let the sauce simmer to a really thick sauce. Skim some of the fat from the surface of the sauce and correct the salt and pepper seasoning before you serve it over a big shaped pasta – rigatoni or penne work well.

Makes about 10 cups of sauce





  1. I have a crock pot but never seem to use it, tending to fly by the seat of my pants rather than plan ahead. I may just pull it out "from the back of the cabinet" and try this recipe!!!

    1. Ha! I love it, Barbara! DO pull that crockpot out from the back row of appliances ... it's that time of year and boy, it eases the work load. If you have the 'old' version with no 'sear' option and not 'timer' and 'keep warm' option ... put that Old Maid on Ebay as an antique and invest in the newer version. I promise (and I'm not even running for Prez!) you will find the newer slow cookers a perfect kitchen tool! Really!

  2. Oh does that look yummy! I'll bet your kitchen smelled great!

  3. Excellent using up of ingredients. Definitely my sort of dish. It would make any butcher happy.

  4. I love a good sauce. Being Italian, this would be a great Sunday sauce. Lots of meat and rigatoni. Looks delicious.

  5. do you know, I was just doing my round-up, getting it ready to post and I thought to myself 'there's someone missing from here and it can't be right'... and HERE you are... it's like rounding up little kittens sometimes.... I must have been in some kind of world of my own the week you posted this... not something I haven't done before, so you're probably quite quite used to it!... this is a glorious sauce, something hearty and warming and classic that you simply must have in your recipe banks... love the freezer find too, always makes for a good surprise I find! Thank you so much for entering Susan and glad I came to check!

  6. Glad to hear other folk have random little bags of things stashed in their freezer. This looks delicious! I did have an unexpected surprise a while ago when I took out an (in my defence unlabelled and slightly frosty) bag of what I thought was stewed rhubarb to make a crumble and it turned out to be diced stewing steak!

    1. Haha! Oh gosh! That surely changed up the plan! I have been guilty of unlabelled and frosty surprises too!

  7. This is nice, I've only previewed her french slow cooker. Pasta's are a definite hit here. I'm a your new follower hope to see you at mines : )


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