Side Dish


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If you’re in search of a deeply flavorful, meaty pasta sauce perfect for home canning, this recipe is your go-to. Adapted from Bernardin, this robust meat sauce requires pressure canning for preservation.


2.5 kg ground beef (extra lean or lean ground pork – 5 lbs)

300 g onion (chopped – 2 cups / 10 oz. Measurements after prep. 2 medium)

150 g green bell pepper (chopped – 1 cup / 5 oz. Measured after prep. 1 large)

2.5 litres diced tomatoes (canned, with juice – about 10 cups / 85 oz)

650 ml tomato paste (2 ⅔ cups / 22 oz)

10 g parsley (chopped fresh – 4 tablespoons / about 2 sprigs)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons salt (or non-bitter, non-clouding salt substitute)

1 tablespoon dried herbs (your choice)

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons vinegar

How to make

Brown the Meat:

Begin by browning the ground beef or pork in batches using a frying pan. Ensure you drain the excess fat from each batch before adding the browned meat to a large pot, approximately 8 liters (quarts) in size.

Prepare the Vegetables:

Onions: Wash, peel, and coarsely chop the onions. Add them to the pot.

Green Bell Pepper: Wash, stem, seed, and coarsely chop the green bell pepper. Add it to the pot.

Cook the Vegetables:

Cook the onions and green bell peppers, stirring frequently until they soften a bit. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the Tomatoes:

Pour in the diced tomatoes, including their juice, into the pot with the meat and vegetables.

Incorporate Remaining Ingredients:

Add the tomato paste, chopped parsley, brown sugar, salt, dried herbs of your choice, ground black pepper, ground ginger, ground allspice, and vinegar. Stir the mixture well to combine all the ingredients.

Simmer the Sauce:

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow it to simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, which usually takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Prepare Jars for Canning:

Sterilize your canning jars and lids.

Ladle the hot meat sauce into heated jars, either half-liter (pint) or liter (quart) jars. Ensure you leave a 3 cm (1 inch) headspace at the top of each jar.

Remove any air bubbles (debubble) and adjust the headspace if necessary.

Wipe the rims of the jars clean to ensure a good seal.

Place the lids on the jars and secure them with the rings.

Process in Pressure Canner:

Pressure: Process at 10 lbs (69 kPa) if using a weighted gauge, or 11 lbs (76 kPa) if using a dial gauge. Adjust the pressure based on your altitude if you are over 300 meters (1000 feet).

Processing Time: For half-liter (pint) jars, process for 60 minutes. For liter (quart) jars, process for 75 minutes.

Cool and Store:

Allow the jars to cool naturally.

Check the seals once the jars are completely cooled. Any jars that did not seal properly should be refrigerated and used within a few days.

Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Properly sealed jars can last up to a year.

This meat sauce is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, just heat and serve over your favorite pasta. It’s a convenient way to enjoy homemade, preservative-free meat sauce anytime.

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