I will never forget the phone conversation from my university kitchen with my Mum trying to get her to explain how to make her spaghetti bolognese. It went some thing like this...
Mum: "Then, add the wine to the pan..."
Me: "How much wine?"
Mum: "Oh you know, a good glug."
Me: "Right... So are we talking a 'glug' or a 'glug, glug, glug'?"
Mum: "Oh, definitely a 'glug glug glug'.
And that was just for the wine! 'A pinch' of this, 'a splash' of that and a 'drizzle' of whatever, somehow translated into my favourite home-comfort meal. Over the years I'm sure I've adapted things slightly (more veggies, less spaghetti) but this pretty much is how my mama makes it. I have tried, just for you guys, to be a little more specific with my measurements and methods but I can't deny that at times I'm guilty of saying;
"Oh you know, a good glug!"... #slowlybecomingmymother!
- 2 tbsp fat (coconut oil / ghee / butter)
- 400g minced bison / minced beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1 large glass of red wine (approx 250 ml)
- 200 ml bone broth
- 750 ml chopped tomatoes
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 courgettes, chopped
- 1-2 peppers, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 cups of mushrooms, chopped
- fresh herbs for garnish (parsley my fave)
- Gently fry the onion in the coconut oil until softened. Be careful not to brown the onion - slow and steady people.
- Add the garlic and all the herbs, the bay leaves and heat for a minute or two, stirring throughout.
- Turn up the heat, add the meat and use your wooden spoon to break up the mince as it browns.
- Once the meat has browned, season it generously with sea salt and black pepper and then add the wine.
- Continue to heat on high for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly, then add the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste.*
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the lid on top, leaving it slightly ajar to allow things to slowly reduce. I like to reduce the sauce slowly and gently - ideally 45 minutes to an hour, to allow the flavours to develop. You can do it quicker if needs be (i.e. too hungry to wait), but the longer the better in my opinion! **
- Serve with some courgetti (zoodles), quinoa pasta shapes, or simply a bed of spinach.
* If adding the extra vegetables, add the carrots, mushrooms and peppers when the tomatoes go in and then the courgettes for the last 15 minutes or so.
** Mum's rules for bolognese - slow and steady works best, but it's even better the next day!
So there you have it friends, one of my favourites and an absolute staple in the Muir and Acott-Smith households. A big shout out to my wonderful Mama for all the years of her delicious, nutritious, homemade grub - Chasing Lobsters has a lot to thank you for!