Homemade Tomato Sauce and Chicken Broth

Homemade tomato sauce and chicken broth

Two years ago I asked my readers a question: “Do we really do this?”. The full question was “do we Dominicans really use sopitas (bouillon cubes) so much?”. The question came after a discussion with some online friends on the subject. Coming from a family in which cooking with natural ingredients was the norm, I rarely ever use industrial seasonings in my home and in the recipes I write both for our blog and for my clients.

Homemade tomato sauce and chicken broth

When I started writing Dominican recipes I often did list these ingredients. A few times some people complained that my recipes were not authentic because this dish, or that other, did not contain seasonings or sopita. As time passed I came to the conclusion that a) This is our blog, I write the recipes. And b) If I wouldn’t serve something to my family, why would I “serve” it to my readers?

Since we moved to a blog format nearly 3 years ago I have been re-writing and re-shooting all our old recipes. They reflect my cooking style better (plus better pictures). They won’t be to everybody’s liking, but there was never a chance I would please everybody.

Homemade tomato sauce and chicken broth

Nowadays you see I list “tomato sauce” instead of  “tomato paste” in my recipes. I list “chicken broth” or “vegetable broth” instead of bouillon cubes. You can buy pretty decent tomato sauces in the supermarket — which contain no artificial coloring, as opposed to a lot of  tomato pastes. You can also buy low-sodium and low-fat broths. But, why not make it at home? It’s cheaper, it’s healthier, you know what’s in your food. Better yet, it’s easy, very easy.

Trust me, as recipes go, this cannot get any easier. It’s just “set it and forget it”, in the inmortal words of Ron Popeil.

Aunt Clara
Homemade tomato sauce and chicken broth
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Instead of using bouillon cubes, and tomato paste, make your own. It is easy and you know what goes in it.
Serves: 8 cups of each
For the tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 10 lb [4.5 kg] of very ripe tomatoes, rinsed and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper (optional)
For the caldo de pollo
  • 2 lb [0.9 kg] of chicken bones
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of dry oregano leaves
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 cup of bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper, freshly cracked
  • 3 qt [3 lt] of water
For the tomato sauce
  1. In a large thick-bottom pot heat the oil over very low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is very soft.
  3. Add the tomato and pepper.
  4. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes are very soft.
  5. Remove from the heat and let them cool down.
  6. Blend until it turns into a soft paste.
  7. Separate into 1-cup portions and freeze.
For the caldo de pollo
  1. Mix chicken, onion, garlic, oregano, celery, bell pepper and pepper.
  2. Add 2 quarts of water, cover and simmer over low heat for an hour and a half. Add more water when it becomes necessary to maintain the same level.
  3. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
  4. Strain and get rid of solids.
  5. Separate into 1 cup portions and freeze.
This is a substitute for tomato sauce and paste for cooking. I use the whole tomatoes because the peel gives it more color.

To make the broth buy a chicken, bone it and use just the bones to make the broth. Nothing to waste.
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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Peggy August 16, 2014, 1:17 PM

    I also appreciate trying to use healthier versions when cooking…love your blog! What do you find the best choice of containers for the cup sized portions when freezing?

  • Chris July 1, 2014, 3:10 PM

    Hi Clara,
    I would like to know if using fresh tomatoes produces the same flavor as using tomato sauce? I am thinking that there going to be cooked down in the recipe anyways. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

    • Aunt Clara July 10, 2014, 1:42 AM

      It depends, adding tomatoes changes the texture and doesn’t account for the extra water in the recipe. Whenever possible I use just tomatoes.

  • Ymelda Ramirez March 4, 2013, 11:29 AM

    I learned to cook from my mother…the “typical” Dominican. I didn’t learn, until college, that the solution inside canned beans is actually a sodium concoction to keep the beans “fresh.” ALL THIS TIME she said it added color to the moro!!! So yeah, I have been trying to make her recipes healthier and this helps A L O T! Thanks for posting this…I never thought of replacing tomato paste & sopitas till now. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

    • Aunt Clara March 11, 2013, 4:05 AM

      Thanks, Ymelda.

      Canned anything, specially canned beans are a no-no for me. I have a pretty worn-out pressure cooker that I can’t live without. That’s the way to go.

  • Julia | JuliasAlbum.com March 2, 2013, 9:13 PM

    You’ve got such beautiful photography! Love the dark background: tomatoes look so good against it.

  • Charlie Sommers February 28, 2013, 5:28 PM

    I make and use quite a bit of chicken stock. I purchase leg quarters, in ten pound bags when they’re on sale, and separate the backs, thighs, and drumsticks. I freeze the drums and thighs for latter use but I toss all the backs and even the fat scraps into a pot and simmer them for several hours. Afterward I pour the stock through a sieve then pick through the backs and recover all the meat I can and use it for chicken salad.

    After refrigeration the fat can be removed from the top of the stock and either discarded or saved for many uses. Schmaltz (chicken fat) makes wonderful pie crusts and is tastier than butter for making a grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t use any seasoning in my chicken stock because we use it in so many different ways. It can be reduced further and will keep several weeks in the fridge.

    • Aunt Clara March 5, 2013, 4:08 PM

      I have just learned a new word: Schmaltz. I didn’t know chicken fat had a specific name.

      Your way of making chicken broth sounds just as good, I like that you even save the bits of chicken left in the broth. Great idea.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook February 28, 2013, 2:33 PM

    Wow I can relate to you a lot! When I started blogging, I was definitely more typical Japanese home cook. In most of Japanese recipes (books/blogs/TV shows), it’s pretty common to use bouillons. There is no one who doubt about that. In fact, I’ve never seen liquid broth sold in regular supermarket stores. Either you make it yourself (but we hardly see whole chicken selling in Japanese supermarkets for example) or bouillon cubes. Culturally it’s more accepted to use bouillons I guess.
    After I started to record my recipes on my blog, and started visiting other non-Japanese websites, I realized everyone is using broth. I came to realize that it’s easily accessible here and I must change. I’m glad I did because I enjoy more than cubes. Japanese makes dashi (Japanese broth) from scratch but never for western style broth. Interesting huh. I started to edit some of my old posts/recipes, too and re-take photos when I can. You have a long blogging history and I am glad to know you even did the same! Sometimes I wondered if I should or not. So thank you for the answer! Love your tomato sauce and chicken broth recipe. Easy and delicious. :)

    • Aunt Clara February 28, 2013, 5:16 PM

      Thanks, Nami, sometimes we just have to break with tradition to go back to an earlier tradition. Our great grandparents didn’t use these products, and neither should we.

  • Kathy February 28, 2013, 2:18 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and blessings! You are truly gifted and so passionate about what you do and put out, its very encouraging to a not so developed cook as myself. :) I wanted to know, if you haven’t already, can you provide a recipe for vegetable broth as well?

  • Kathy Collado February 28, 2013, 1:34 PM

    I totally agree with you concerning chicken stock. It’s so easy to prepare and I get to control the sodium level. Besides, it’s taste better!

  • Mayra February 27, 2013, 11:17 PM

    I love that you are always thinking of ways to make your recipes healthier. Great job.

  • Eileen February 27, 2013, 11:01 PM

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a very long time. I never use cubitos – this is great!