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Jan 16, 2011 10:32 AM

Food Mill vs. China Cap/Chinoise for Tomato Sauce?

I make my own chicken stock all the time. I've also recently become obsessed with making my own tomato sauce. I figured a China Cap (aka Chinoise) would be a good choice for both (straining stock and pureeing tomatoes). For now, I've been using a sieve for straining the stock and tomatoes for sauce. I'm ready to invest. I'm just not sure if a food mill would be better suited for the tomato sauce (since it's been winter, I've been roasting the tomatoes first, then peeling and seeding them by gloved hand over the sieve - taking the flesh and putting in a separate bowl to break apart by hand later - a little cumbersome). I suppose during the summer, when tomatoes are riper and sweeter, I'll probably just blanche the tomatoes, peel and seed them, then throw them into a food processor (haven't done this yet, so I don't know how I would like it). For the tomato sauce, which would be easier/better, the food mill or china cap? I've never used either tool. Any suggestions? (Maybe even the food processor is the best way to go, I'm not sure - any and all suggestions very welcome!)

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  1. The chinoise would be a lot of work and probably frustrate you no end since it would trap way more tomato pulp than you might like. Food processors tend to liquify. Personally, I use a food mill or the mill/grinder attachments on my KA for tomato sauce since I like some "tomato" in my tomato sauce. My Italian neighbors in my old Toronto 'hood always used food mills--hand-cranked or electric--during their late summer sauce-making marathons.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha

      We've used a food mill for that. No need to peel or seed, that will all stay behind.

      1. re: Kagemusha

        I agree with food mill love it for tomatoe sauce and "mashed" potatoes.

      2. Food mill. If you want to make a LOT of sauce often, you can buy a tomato press (Williams Sonoma has one.. its like $40).

        1. Thank you all so much! I ended up buying a larger sieve for the chicken broth and also a food mill. I have to say, I LOVE that thing. I've been so busy using it to make a tomato/vegetable soup, I haven't tried it yet for actual tomato sauce - but based on the results I've seen, it will be fabulous. I tried the blanching/food processor method for tomato sauce and didn't like the consistency so much - too aerated and too liquified (although it was too thick to pass as juice). The food mill really produces the perfect consistency.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sherrib

            Just used my Oxo food mill for the first time, making Raspberry Sorbet. I used the middle sieve,but it passes some seeds through the purée. I finished with the chinoise. Perfect! Loved it!

            1. re: Grapedad

              What happens with the smallest-holed sieve?