Are you making these mistakes when cooking Bolognese?
There are good Bolognese sauces and there are bad Bolognese sauces and I’m here to show you that you never have to make another bad Bolognese again!
Here are 3 mistakes to avoid that contribute to a bad sauce – and they might surprise you! When you’re confident you’re not going to make these mistakes again, scroll down for my Change Your Life Bolognese sauce and tell me what you think.
Mistake 1: Adding the mince after the onion and garlic
This might blow your mind but I recommend browning the mince in a swearword hot pan greased with a little canola spray before adding the onions and garlic. This ensures the mince is brown and sexy and full of flavour –you render the fat out of it too. This browning method is known in ‘cheffy’ terms as the Maillard reaction.
Mistake 2: Over-stirring
You are stirring too much. Constant or premature stirring cools the pan and makes the meat stew. Stewed meat that has not browned is not tasty and will need to be disguised. Manage the sizzle and the heat in your pan and your mince will be tastier without working too hard.
Mistake 3: Breaking the mince when it’s in the pan
Break the mince up BEFORE it hits the pan and use a whisk or plastic egg lift to break up the lumps.
Change your life Bolognese.
Mel’s versatile Bolognese recipe
1kg premium beef mince
1 large onion finely sliced
3-6 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh oregano/thyme/marjoram or use 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix
1 carrot finely diced or grated
1 celery stalk finely grated
1 pinch nutmeg (very important!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 teaspoons beef stock powder or 2 stock cubes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 jar passata (500-700ml)
1 Heat and grease (use canola or rice bran or something that can take the heat) a large pan until just about smoking hot. Then add the mince. The mince should sizzle when it hits the pan and it should sizzle nice, loud and sexy.
Do not stir. I know you are worried about it burning and lumps forming but let the mince brown and seal on the first side. Then let the pan heat up again and stir ever so slightly just to get some more mince onto the base of the pan. Of course if it’s burning feel free to rescue it!
My favourite mince ‘fluffer’ is one of those cheap plastic-coated whisks you get at the supermarket that only have about 4 loops. If you don’t have one of those use a strong plastic spoon or egg flip to break down the mince.
2 Once the mince is brown and fragrant and sexy all by itself, then and only then do you add the finely chopped onion and garlic. There should be enough oil from the mince that you have rendered off during your amazing sizzle-cooking. If not add the olive oil. You can stir as much as you like now by the way – that mince is now sealed off nicely!
3) Add the herbs, nutmeg, stock powder, grated/diced carrot and seasoning and stir through. Amazing colour isn’t it?
4) Finally add the chopped tomatoes, vegetables and passata and you’re practically done. Turn down the heat and let that all cook through. Check the seasoning and it’s ready to serve.
This way of cooking will not only save you time, but it will add valuable flavour and vibrant personality to your otherwise boring mince. Serve with fresh al dente spaghetti, shaved parmesan and lots of freshly chopped parsley.
Mel’s Note: I love to get creative with my mince and change the spices to change the flavour.