Talk about a case of culinary excess.
Okay, here’s a question. You’re faced with a recipe that has an ingredient list the size of the New York phone book. Not really…but 23 ingredients. TWENTY THREE! What kind of food do you think you’re about to make? Thai? A complex, authentic Chinese dish? A deep, rich Mexican mole?
Why was I making this in the first place? Twitter. It’s a beast. @DarthGarry had tipped me off that he’d made the sauce and thought it was delicious…and basically challenged me to make it. I’m always up for a challenge and after he reminded me several times to make it (especially after I had announced my purchase of a dutch oven) it was on like donkey kong.
I reserved this adventure for a Sunday evening. I resolved to follow the recipe to the “t” as much as possible – even though I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. Ever. After reading the recipe and the time it would take to complete each step, I realized, this was a FIVE HOUR endeavor.
I know what Alton was trying to do here. With each step he is trying to extract the fullest and richest flavors out of each ingredient going into the pot. He also has a touch of delusion mixed in there. Because I hardly tasted the 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce or the 1 tablespoon of ketchup. If unnecessary ingredients like this make or break your dish, well, you have bigger issues to tackle. Other steps just felt fussy and unnecessary.
There is an upside to all this complaining though. The sauce is delicious. I just don’t think it’s worth five hours of my time. My mother has an equally delicious meat sauce recipe that calls for a day of slow cooking in a crock pot. Prep takes about 20 minutes of opening cans of various tomato products, browning meat and chopping veggies. Dump it all in the crock pot and you’re done for the day. That’s my kind of meat sauce!
I’m not going to publish the recipe, because you can find it here. Also because I’m going to make my mom’s meat sauce for you all and publish that recipe instead. Be on the look out!