How to remedy a bitter red sauce?

I made a large recipe of tomato and meat sauce in my slowcooker. The edges got quite brown and now my sauce tastes bitter. Suggestions for improving the flavor?

Alas, I am allergic to onions, so adding caramellized onion to sweeten it is not an option.

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Shuna Lydon
Shuna Lydon March 25, 2015

Possible solutions:
A dash of honey
A pinch of kosher or sea salt (iodized table salt is quite bitter itself)
Molasses to taste
A tablespoon of sugar
Can you eat shallots? Leeks? If so - any of those sweated down might help
Stir in some baked sweet potato/yam
Mix in some ricotta

Good luck! Tell us what worked!

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Meaghan F
Meaghan F March 25, 2015

Maybe roast some fresh tomatoes and/or garlic, and add them to the sauce? Both would add sweetness.

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plainhomecook
plainhomecook March 25, 2015

A splash of balsamic vinegar might help too.

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CheeseLover
CheeseLover March 25, 2015

I'm sorry that I'm answering you with a question but I am also mildly allergic to onions. Can I ask: Do you leave them out of your sauce entirely? Do you use anything as a substitute? I would love to make a red sauce without onions.

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Windischgirl
Windischgirl March 25, 2015

I generally sub in celery for onions, if I want the texture. If I am making a dish that calls for a sofrito-type base, I will use carrots, celery, and peppers. I know I am missing out on some flavors but my tummy is happier this way.
I sometimes have issues with garlic as well; ground Asafetida makes a good substitute.

Windischgirl
Windischgirl March 25, 2015

I had a bowl of pasta and the sauce for lunch today. On a whim, I added the last of some cream cheese, about a tablespoon. Once it was heated and blended, the cream cheese softened the bitter edge. So maybe I'll make a bechamel and mix it in to make a Rosa sauce?
I was also contemplating adding cooked puréed carrots, similar to the yam idea.
I have enough sauce in the freezer that I can try all your ideas. Thanks so much!

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SueH
SueH April 3, 2015

I always add about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda...stir it in, and let it fizz up and settle down, removes any bitter or acidic flavors!

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Meadow Lark
Meadow Lark April 4, 2015

Orange zest.

I don't know if works for everyone, but it certainly helped the other day when my red sauce was too "kale-y" (bitter) for my liking.

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Windischgirl
Windischgirl April 4, 2015

I will have to try that! I have been saving the orange zest from my latest bag of navels...it's in large strips in my freezer in anticipation of cake baking, so easy enough to mince some and add it to the sauce.

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