In a large pot, sauté onion in oil on low until soft, and then remove to a bowl (to add back in). Fry the meat in the same pot until cooked and well-browned. Add smashed garlic cloves and sauté just until fragrant – don’t let it burn. Season with salt & pepper. Add tomato puree and cook gently for about an hour. (Add some chicken broth or water if necessary while cooking.)
Remove the meat and garlic to a strainer set over a bowl. Lightly pour some water over the meat, while stirring, to save as much tomato sauce as possible, smashing the garlic through the strainer. Throw out the meat trimmings and bones. Add the water in the bowl to the pot and add the onions back in. Add the remaining ingredients.
Partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer on low for an hour or two (or three), stirring occasionally, and adding chicken stock or water to thin as needed – check for spices and adjust to taste. Allow to simmer until desired consistency. The oil should “rise to the top – then it’s done”. Remove the bay leaf when finished cooking.
The sauce freezes well in containers, inside freezer bags.
*I use Tuttorosso tomatoes, and I always freeze meat trimmings and bones to make sauce or soups.