Creole Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 pinch saffron (optional)
1/2 pinch dried oregano, or to taste
1/2 pinch dried basil, or to taste
1/2 pinch dried thyme, or to taste
1/2 orange zest
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in celery, onion, green bell pepper, carrot, and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir tomatoes with their juice, water, chicken bouillon cubes, and bay leaves into the vegetable mixture.

Stir in red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, saffron, oregano, basil, thyme, orange zest, and white wine.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the flavors have blended, at least 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Allow the sauce to cool completely.

Sauce can be frozen up to 3 months before using.