Now that the weather is turning cooler, heartier recipes are called for to help keep you warm and fill you up. One of my personal favourites is Bolognese sauce. I was super excited for an opportunity to use my adorable Le Creuset pumpkin cocotte!
Bolognese sauce is one of my favourite recipes for several reasons. These include that;
- It is filling and delicious
- It can be filled with vegetables to help reach your 5 a day
- It is infinitely adaptable depending on what you have available at home (or at the shop)
- It can be used to make several different meals
And most importantly to me, it is my interpretation of a classic! This means it is a recipe where I don’t have to have it written down, and can make it without referencing anything- making dinner a lot more simple! I have been making this for ten years or more probably, so the more you make it the more you learn how you like it.
This makes approximately 4 generous portions (depending on amount of veg used) which I usually use to make dinner two nights in a row.
- 400-500g Beef Mince
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Chicken stock cube (or veg or beef)
- 1 Can of Tomatoes (Chopped or Plum)
- Approx. 3 tbsp. Tomato Puree
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 small punnet mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1 Red pepper, sliced (Optional)
- Other Optional Veg- Celery, Leeks
- Oil (1 tbsp.)
Seasonings I use
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Worchestershire Sauce (few drops)
- Paprika (1tsp)
- Basil (1tsp)
- Sugar (1 tsp) helps increase the taste of the tomatoes
- Balsamic Vinegar (Splash)
- Heat the oil on a medium heat in a medium sized pan. Once hot add the onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Once cooked turn the heat up to high and add the mince, cooking until it is fully browned.
- Add the canned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon if using plum tomatoes, the stock cube and a can of water (using the tomato can). Stir, then add any vegetables that you are using (Except for mushrooms).
- Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree and stir. Then add seasonings. Stir and bring to the boil, then place the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
- Leave to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If it looks too dry add a little more water. If using mushrooms add at around the 30 min mark.
- After an hour the veg should be cooked and the sauce thick, if it isn’t add a little extra puree to thicken it. Season to taste. It can be cooked for longer, or cooked in advance and reheated when ready to serve dinner (what I usually do, so that when we are hungry it only takes 10 minutes or so to cook some pasta).
This versatile recipe can be served in several different ways, with spaghetti, turned into a lasagne, turned into a cottage pic (by topping with mash and grated cheese), used as a jacket potato filling or used as a toastie filling (along with some cheddar cheese)! It can also be eaten with a spoon right out of the pan… Sometimes a tempting option whilst cooking it!
The first night we had this as a Spaghetti Bolognese, the second night as a cottage pie. Both were great, and it is always helpful to know that you have some of this sauce stashed away in the freezer or in the fridge to be used the next day for a speedier dinner.
Any suggestions for good autumn recipes?