Beef Bolognese Recipe

FullSizeRender

There aren’t too many recipes I look forward to making each week. Bolognese, I have to say, is one I don’t mind taking the necessary steps to GREATNESS. Mouth watering, greatness. It is also one of my family’s most favorite recipes I cook each week. It’s definitely a labor of love because it involves steps and patience.

I first saw the recipe from Anne Burrell. This is the recipe I absolutely love. If you follow the process exactly how she says to – your bolognese will rival those served in small, quaint cafes in Italy. I do know this! We took a trip to Italy last summer and I tasted one that could be served side by side next to mine. (I have changed mine up just a bit to personal preference, so feel free to experiment with yours as well!)

First, you are going to take the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and put them in a food processor until it’s a pulp. You can add olive oil to the food processor if it makes it easier to process. Sauté the pulp mixture in olive oil with 2 Tsp of salt on med-high heat with a Tbps of olive oil for about 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. It will start out really liquidy (like in the pic below) but then it will start to tighten up and resemble cornbread.

IMG_8397 When it’s getting close to being done, it’s a nutty brown color, and it will look like cornbread a little. Maybe 2 mins more. Shove it aside in the pan to make room for your meat. Scrape with your wooden spoon.

IMG_8398

Add your meat another 2 tsp salt and LET IT COOK. Do not skimp these processes. Let those flavors develop.

IMG_8390

Once meat is browned all the way through, add your tomato paste. Notice, I still have my veggies to the side. You can also take them completely out if you want.

IMG_8392

Let the tomato paste cook a bit through for approx 4-5 minutes stirring once or twice (It will be thick)

Add your red wine and let this cook out for approx 5-7 minutes stirring a few times.

IMG_8394

Once red wine has reduced, add water – but do NOT add too much water. An inch above the meat is enough. If I’m making this batch, 1 1/2 cups of water is plenty. 2 is max. If you’re making Anne Burrell’s full recipe, I think 3 cups is max.

IMG_8396

I add the seasonings next and stir. Lower your heat to low to medium (where you have a soft simmer) Now it’s just a game of cooking out/ add water / cooking out / add water game. Set your timer for 45 minutes the first go around. Taste. Remember: it WILL concentrate the more liquid you let cook out. I do this about 3 times total throughout the cooking. The whole thing takes me about 2 1/2 hours to make. You can rush it, but the flavors won’t be nearly developed enough. The end result is a thick, salty, rich, hearty flavored bolognese and is incredible over fettuccine or rice. Hubs and son aren’t fond of pasta, so they prefer it over rice. 🙂 Enjoy!

Recipe:

1/2 onion
2 full sized celery stalks
12-14 baby carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs of chuck or sirloin
1 1/2 small cans of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups red wine (either Merlot or Cab) Oh darn, you’ll have some leftover to drink…
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2- 2 cups of water (repeat as many times as you need)

If you’re still a little scared to try, please watch a video, Anne Burrell has made a video showing how she makes hers. Now, she uses a shit-load of salt in hers. I don’t use that much. Again, make it to your own preference! Once I watched it, I felt much more confident that I could make it on my own! Click HERE to watch her video.

Not your typical Cabbage Roll

First, you will love Quinoa.  You will.  You will.  I will you to love Quinoa. I think most either haven’t tried it, or they’ve tried it plain.

Second, did you know that 1 cup of ground chicken is just over 300 calories.  JUST over 300 calories, and less than 18g of fat!

I’ve been trying different recipes where I can throw in a little Quinoa to get my family used to it. Quinoa is high in protein, lacks gluten, is a great source of fiber and very easy to digest! It is slowly gaining popularity in the US. It also is supposed to make you fuller-for longer. You can find many different kinds of Quinoa. You can find blends of wild rice, bulgar, and quinoa. You can use that in this recipe, as well! This is the one I chose to use:

Quinoa

One meal I LOVE is cabbage rolls.  If you don’t love cabbage rolls, I’m sure you can find a great substitute for this instead of cabbage leaves. My goal was to make cabbage rolls with ground chicken and quinoa-but still have great flavor that regular beef or pork filled cabbage rolls provide.

Recipe will be below.  First, follow the recipe on how to prepare the Quinoa in a separate, small pan.  You will only need about 1/4-1/2 cup of Quinoa cooked, so 1/2 a cup of Quinoa is plenty. While this is cooking:

Pre-heat oven to 375. I sauteed 1/4 cup onion, 1/4 cup of green or red bell pepper (any color is fine, really), and 3 cloves of chopped garlic with 2 Tbsp of olive oil until almost soft. (about 4 min) I added my ground chicken and spices. Cook until chicken is almost done.

Ground Chicken

Next, I add about 20 leaves of spinach, and the chili pepper paste (provides a tiny bit of sweet but also the HEAT), and 1/4 of chopped tomatoes (I use the Poma brand in a box). Save the rest of the chopped tomatoes to pour on top of the cabbage rolls once you assemble them. You can honestly add anything to this dish that you think you may like. All of the flavors blend nicely.

Chili tomato

Let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes. The flavors will marry and come together nicely! Taste. If you think it’s pretty bland, add more seasoning or pepper.  The Quinoa should be done. Add about 1/4 cup of Quinoa to the mixture. Combine well.

Next, assemble the cabbage rolls.

Cabbage assembly

Roll them up and place them in a casserole dish. Don’t worry about them being perfect leaves. You’ll spoon each leaf bundle out with a big spoon and just dig in with your fork.

Take remaining ground chicken mixture and add 1/4 cup of the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Pour some of the mixture on each roll -but not covering completely. (Pic below) Put a layer of foil on casserole dish and cover tightly. Cook for 25 minutes. Be careful when you remove, as the steam will be quite hot.

Cabbage Final

Recipe:

Not your everyday Cabbage Roll
1 head of cabbage                    1/4 cup of chopped onion
1 lb ground chicken                    3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup of green or red bell pepper                    2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cooked Quinoa                    1 Tbsp chili pepper paste
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes                    fresh spinach
1 tsp garlic salt                    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

You can put almost any veggie you want, or pine nuts in this dish – experiment!

Enjoy!