I love a good tomato jam to go with a beef carpaccio or a nice fat smoked pork chop, but a lot of the tomato jam recipes have the same spices as ketchup, thus you end up with a similar product that might be a little thicker, sweeter, and meatier. I decided to winterize it a little more and got a nice anise flavor by using fennel and tried to make it a little richer with some red wine.
Tomato and Fennel Jam
10# Roma Tomatoes
2C Novelty Hill “Royal Slope Red”
2ea Fennel bulbs
1T Black Peppercorns
6ea Bay Leaves
1T Cardamom Pods (crushed)
1T Crushed Red Pepper
1/4C Sherry Vinegar
- Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil, have a pan with ice water ready to hold all of the tomatoes.
- Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato, and drop them into the water until the skin can easily be removed, for Roma tomatoes it takes about 4 minutes.
- Place the tomatoes directly into the ice water to stop them from cooking, and begin peeling them.
- Remove the tops and rough chop the tomatoes. Weighing them again, you should get about 7# 12oz of peeled and crushed tomatoes.
- Clean the fennel and dice it small; place half the fennel into a high speed blender with enough water to come half way up the fennel. Puree the fennel until smooth.
- Strain the fennel puree to get 1 cup of fennel juice through a chinois or a very fine strainer.
- Place the black pepper, cardamom, and bay leaves into a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and tie it closed.
- Place all ingredients except for the vinegar into a large pot and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. The wider the pot, the faster it will reduce.
- While the jam is reducing, be sure to skim the top of any foam to get a clean flavored product. Make sure that you skim the lighter colored foam as these are the impurities, because of the tomato pulp you will also have a deeper red foam floating up for the first twenty minutes of cooking. The red will subside a little and you will be left with the lighter colored foam to skim.
- Once it is the consistency of jam, which you can check by dropping a little onto a plate in the freezer, add the sherry vinegar. The purpose of the vinegar is to balance the jam, it will be very sweet by the time it has reduced so the vinegar brings back some acidity.