Easy Tomato Compote: Keep On Hand

Tomato_compoteWho likes to buy a can or tube of tomato paste, wondering when the rest of it will be used? Or, like me, do you stand in the tomato aisle saying to yourself, “No, I really don’t want a buy a full can of tomato sauce because it looks boring and unnecessary, something I can work around?” Tomato Compote is your solution–five minutes of active cooking time and thirty minutes on medium-low heat is all it takes. All of our ingredients were purchased at Trader Joe’s.

Tomato Compote is a lush cross-over between a paste and a sauce—a much more useful product than either one of them alone. It will keep in your refrigerator for weeks (no more than a month) if covered with a bit of olive oil in a sealed glass jar. And it’s just the right quantity to use up in that period of time, or less.  It will NEVER go to waste. There’s always a dish that wanting a hit of tomato love. Thin out with a few spoonfuls of broth and it’s a light marinara. A dollop can go on your eggs or with some artichoke hearts for an instant flavor boost.

ChiliRellenos_plated_smallWe have used ours in Sheet Pan Chicken Chili Rellenos with a touch of ancho chili powder.

Inspiration came from Paula Wolfert’s homemade pureed tomato paste. Ms. Wolfert’s Food of Morocco (James Beard Best International Cookbook of 2012), describes how Moroccan cooks often add a spoon of rich, deep tomato paste to a pot of hot oil “causing the paste to sizzle and come alive.” Her beautiful cookbook is based on forty years of original research and is one that no library should be without.


Place all ingredients into a large sauce pan and give a quick stir to incorporate. Cook down on low to medium-low heat for about one half hour, giving a stir every ten minutes. After thirty minutes chop up any remaining whole tomato lumps with a wooden spoon. It should have some texture. Spoon into glass jars and cover the Tomato Compote with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Seal with a lid and store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Tomato Compote Tomatoes
Essential ingredients: Whole tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.