Provençal sauce

2016-04-12 a.o.

This French-origin recipe is very popular in Europe but not very well known in America , possibly because of the competition with the Mexican kitchen.

Speaking of Mexican kitchen:
The indigenous Mesoamericans had wild onion varieties and their own battery of herbs and spices long before the colonization. Tomatoes and peppers originated in the Americas, but bell peppers were developed in Germany.

Only the Provençal herbs (thyme, rosemary a.o.) are truly European/Mediterranean. Without them, the sauce will still be delicious, but with a very different character. I have seen very similar recipes of Spanish and Creole sauces with all the same ingredients, except they use different spices. Amazing what difference a few teaspoons of spices can make.

Many American recipes make this sauce as simple as tossing some rosemary and thyme in tomato sauce. In Belgium, the recipe is a bit more complicated than that, with lots of onions and bell peppers.  Like Pico de Gallo, this is a vegetable stew served up as a sauce.

Provençal sauce combines really well with nearly any type of meat or fish. Give it a try. Better make a big batch and freeze some for later. It will save you work. You’ll want to have it again after that first time.

Mushrooms are not part of the traditional recipe, but they are commonly added nowadays. I use them almost every time.

This time I used more bell peppers and fewer tomatoes than last time. I stewed the tomatoes with the onions instead of making a thick tomato sauce first, which resulted in a thinner sauce and a noticeably lighter color. The bell pepper flavor is much stronger here. I made a large pot. Leftovers freeze well. 


This is what you need for 1 quart:

  • 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes
    or 1 large can
  • 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 large onions
  • butter / olive oil
  • S&P
  • herbes de Provence
  • optional:
    • garlic
    • celery
Pic1: Provençal sauce — 2016-04-12



Pic5: stew
Pic6: crush
Pic7: simmer down


Pic8: onions
Pic9: bell peppers
Pic10: mushrooms


Pic11: Provençal spices
Pic12: add tomatoes, simmer
Pic13: remove peels


Pic1: 2016-04-12
Pic2: internet picture
Pic3: 2017-11-03

Serving suggestions: