Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sauce for the Goose!

Not strictly eating what I'm about to mention, but Sinead is a real cutie when she's grubbing up!

The funny thing about bolognaise sauce is that it really isn’t an Italian style sauce—not the way us Irish eat it anyway! It’s a little like going to the Chinese takeaway and ordering a breast of chicken curry… but that’s another story for another day. I’ve gone and worked out my recipe and present here for your edification and delectation my version of this classic Irish/Italian sauce. This recipe serves eight portions with usually enough for a freezer helping, so either halve quantities or freeze and use as required. It can also be used for making lasagne (alongside homemade béchamel sauce – another day).

1lb of mince (preferably as lean as possible—here we ask for round steak mince)

1 onion finely chopped

Finely chopped garlic (optional if you dislike garlic; how many is up to you if you don’t)

2 carrots and 1 each red, green, yellow peppers (Which vegetables you use is entirely your choice - experiment)

8-10 white conventional mushrooms

3 dessertspoons of flour

1 oxo cube dissolved in 1/3 pint of water

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 large tablespoon of tomato puree

Dashes of Worcester, Tabasco sauces (to your taste of course)

Ground black pepper and salt to taste

1 teaspoon each of basil and oregano

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Optional glass of red wine (Anything to hand)

You will also need a large heavy based large pan and a slow cooker, warmed.

We will assume all your ingredients are chopped and ready to go.

First place your heavy pan on high and warm it up for a minute or two. Add the olive oil and brown the meat all over using your wooden spatula or spoon to make sure the meat is separated into its smallest component parts. When browned take off the pan and place into your (pre-warmed) crock.

Add your onions and reduce heat slightly. You want to ‘sweat’ them rather than brown them, keeping them on the move with your spoon.

After about 4-5 mins add the chopped garlic, then remove the pan from the heat and add the flour working it in with your wooden spoon. Add the dissolved oxo cube stirring in quickly, whack the pan back on the medium to high heat and add the two cans of tomatoes, all the while stirring away with your wooden spoon like a mad thing to blend everything together. Add dashes of Tabasco and Worcester sauces and your optional glass of wine, stirring in as before.

After about 4-5 minutes of bubbling, pour this sauce into the crock pot and stir into the awaiting meat. Don’t worry if the sauce seems a little on the thick side; it will thin out with cooking.

Now place the pan back onto the heat and dry fry the mushrooms to brown slightly, and pop into the crock. Add the other chopped vegetables straight to the crock and stir in well. Cook on High for about 30 minutes and then reduce to Low for about 5-6 hours, or until the vegetables are the right side of crunchy. Serve with spaghetti cooked in the usual way and a garnish of freshly grated parmesan and freshly milled black pepper—oh and a glass of red!