Bolognese Ragù

Beef Recipes

Bolognese Ragù
‘Emilia Romagna, View to Verucchio’ by Johann Pickl

After recently discovering this frankly sublime recipe, I wasted little time in making it for myself before posting it here, and I can testify that the results more than justify the time invested, when after slow cooking it for almost four hours, this dish blew me away with its luscious taste and instant appeal.

I would also add that many people have naively tinkered with these ingredients through a fear that its simplicity might find itself lacking, however I can absolutely assure you that this is exactly what you need and nothing more, while remaining mindful that this is a centuries-old method, so trust that it is perfect and allow yourself to enjoy a beautiful  bowl of Italian cuisine at its very best.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
75g Butter
250g Minced Pork (15-20% fat)
500g Minced Beef (15-20% fat)
300g Tagliatelle
Medium Onion (very finely chopped)
100g Carrots (peeled and very finely diced)
100g Celery ( very finely diced)
Small Bottle Red Wine
3 Tbsps Tomato Purée
125ml Milk
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Add the diced pork to a 26cm non-stick chef pan, and gently stir-fry the meat until well cooked and almost moisture free.

2. Add the minced beef to the pork, and brown it slowly while stirring over a medium heat before removing and setting them aside.

3. Melt the butter in the same pan before adding the onions, carrots and celery,  and gently fry them until the onions are soft and almost slightly golden.

4. Add the tomato purée, pork and beef, gently combine everything and simmer gently uncovered for 3-4 minutes, before adding the wine and mixing everything well.

5. Lower the heat, tightly cover the pan with aluminium foil and the lid, and place it on a very gentle simmer for 3 hours, checking every hour and adding a little water where needed.

6. Add the milk, mix well and continue to simmer partially covered for another 40 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper.

7. Cook the tagliatelle according to the pack instructions, drain and gently combine it with the ragù before serving as required.

Comments
This particular recipe calls for tagliatelle, however you could also serve it with pappardelle and some crusty buttered rolls to soak up the delicious oils left behind.

Shepherd’s Pie

Beef Recipes

Shepherd's Pie
‘The Highland Shepherd’ by Rosa Bonheur

Shepherd’s pie has remained our family favourite for many years due to its classic ingredients, and so I can assure you that should you follow this particular recipe you’ll soon discover exactly why this dish looks unlikely to fall from favour in our household anytime soon, and although the preparation requires at least thirty minutes of your time, the end result looks and tastes sublime.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 Tbsps Olive Oil
400g Minced Beef
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Beef Stock Cubes
2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
2 Handfuls of Garden Peas
Tbsp Dried Thyme
0.5 Tsp Mustard Powder
Tbsp Dried Oregano
Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Bay Leaf
Tbsp Tomato Purée
Tsp Plain Flour
6-7 Maris Piper Potatoes (peeled)
100g Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
50g Butter
200ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

2. Add the minced beef and brown slowly while stirring.

3. Add the stock cubes, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, dried thyme, oregano and salt and pepper, and stir well to mix.

4. Add the peas, chopped tomatoes and water, and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

5. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C

6. Cube and par-boil the potatoes for around 10-15 minutes, and then mash with half of the cheddar and all of the butter.

7. Add flour to thicken the meat sauce, and then pour it into a suitably sized casserole dish.

8. Level the meat sauce with a spoon, and then top it with mashed potato, evenly spreading it across the meat, (you can use a fork to create a nice swirling pattern in the potato) before evenly sprinkling the remaining half of the cheese on top.

9. Bake in centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, placing a baking tray on the shelf below to catch any excess meat sauce that might bubble out during cooking.

10. Remove and let it stand for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required.

Comments
This robust meal goes brilliantly with chopped or sliced carrots and steamed broccoli, while it’s equally delicious with a generous dollop of tomato sauce on the side!

Keema with Browned Onions

Recipes

Keema with Browned Onions
‘Two Onions’ by Julian Merrow-Smith

This is a great example of east meets west, and while based on the traditional Indian ‘keema’ dish, this was adapted by us over years of getting it to suit our need for depth of flavour, as opposed to what was previously a somewhat bland and ‘safe’ recipe for undeveloped English palettes.

While this is already a highly adaptable meal in itself, it can also be used with a variety of ingredients and accompaniments, which means that it’s perfect for introducing guests to the diverse world of Indian cuisine, particularly those reluctant to try ‘spicy’ food, and where suitable, you can always use minced beef instead of lamb.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
400g of Minced Lamb (or beef)
6 Tbsps of Olive or Sunflower Oil
3 Onions (Two Chopped and One Finely Sliced)
4 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
1” of Peeled Fresh Ginger (Grated)
2 Tsps of Ground Cumin
2 Tsps of Ground Coriander
2 Tsps Ground Turmeric
2 Tbsps Natural Yoghurt
Whole Cinnamon Stick
Bay Leaf
3 Whole Cloves
0.25 Tsp Ground Mace
0.25 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Whole Tomato (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt
Tsp Ground Black Pepper
100ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and then gently fry the sliced onion until browned but not burnt, and then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.

2. Add the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf to the remaining oil and gently fry, before adding the chopped onions, garlic and ginger, stir-frying further until the onions are slightly browned.

3. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and stir well, before adding the yoghurt, stirring again as the yoghurt is absorbed into the onions.

4. Add the minced lamb, and stir-fry over a medium heat while stirring occasionally, and breaking down the mince with a spoon.

5. Add all the mace, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste, and continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes, before adding the water.

6. Mix well and simmer covered for 1.5 hours, while the sauce thickens and to allow for more intensity of flavour.

7. Gently stir in the fried sliced onions and serve.

Comments
This wonderful meal can be served with plain basmati rice, noodles, spaghetti and most pasta shapes, and as mentioned above, can be adjusted to suit spice tolerances, while any leftovers can be readily frozen and used again for children’s meals, or served with warm chapatis alongside a simple Indian salad.

Italian Meatballs

Recipes

Italian Meatballs
‘With Meatballs on Top’ by JJ Galloway

The staple meal in any Italian household, only made to our particular tastes, this is a dinner that is well worth the wait, and I would recommend you wear some kind of napkins or kitchen paper over your clothes to avoid any mess. There is no doubt that this is a lip-smacking dinner which wins with children and adults alike, and any leftovers (and there rarely is) can be easily frozen for later use.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Large Slug of Olive Oil
2 400g Packs of Beef Meatballs
240-300g Pack of Bacon
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped
2 Garlic cloves (Peeled and Grated)
Beef Stock Cube
2 Tsps Tomato Purée
2 Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Finely Chopped)
500g Tomato Passata
3 Whole Tomatoes (Quartered)
Tsp Dried Oregano
Tsp Dried Basil
Tsp Dried Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Small 187ml Bottle Red Wine
25g Pack Fresh Basil (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

How to Cook

  1. Finely dice the bacon after removing any unwanted fat and then after heating the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly brown.
  1. Add both the meatballs and bacon and brown both meats slowly on a gently heat, stirring occasionally.
  1. Add the oregano, basil, parsley, beef stock cube, salt and pepper, sound-dried tomatoes, tomato purée and sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  1. Pour in the red wine and tomato passata, stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes  before adding the quartered tomatoes, covering the pan and simmering gently for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  1. Just before serving, add the chopped basil and mix well.

Comments
It goes without saying that meatballs are best served with spaghetti or linguini, however you can also use penne or fusilli if preferred. In fact, most shaped pastas work equally well, while remembering to grate plenty of freshly grated parmesan or romano (pecorino) cheese over the top (as long as your diners are in agreement) along with extra salt and pepper where required.