Casa M Bolognese Sauce
Necessity being the mother of invention, this recipe was born out of a complete breakdown in language. On one of our trips to Cozumel we sent our shopping list to stock the refrigerator before we got there and somehow there was a remnant from a prior use of the list still on there and it was 2 kilos of ground beef! Now, the ground beef down in Mexico is actually very good, but it doesn't last near as long as what we get back in the US (makes you wonder what's going on with what we get here that it can last so long), so we had to act quickly. I have always loved our Red Gravy recipe, but as good as it is, it deserves more than just browning ground beef and adding it to it. Our traditional Bolognese sauce is very traditioanl in that it starts with celery, onion, and carrot and only uses a little tomato paste and no other tomato at all. So the quandry was how do you give the Red Gravy recipe the respect it deserves to incorporate the ground beef? Easy, combine the two to make a non-traditional Bolognese and the result is astoundingly good.
We took a slightly different approach to the vegetables than we did in the Red Gravy recipe in that we purée everything here and then sautée them concentrating their flavors significantly. We replace their liquid with red wine (now we're talking!) and to get the tiny, fine consistency of the Bolognese sauce we learned to love in Italy, we combine the ground beef and wine together and using hands, mix them together to "dissolve" the ground beef in the wine. It's brilliant. Finally, the whole thing goes into the oven to cook so it's largely hands-off the whole time. The fresh herbs add a lot of flavor. Don't add them until about 1/2 way through the cooking process. Adding the last of the crushed tomato at the end changes the flavor profile more than you'd think. The cooked red sauce is instantly brightened by the largely raw crushed tomatoes. You're going to love this recipe we promise. Plus, as a peek ahead, we used this in our Baked Ziti recipe too and all we can say is WOW!
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Sautéed Vegetables:
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 16 ounces portobello mushrooms, puréed
- 16 cloves garlic, puréed
- 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, puréed
- 1 large sweet onion, puréed
- 1 carrot, puréed
For the Red Sauce:
- 112 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, preferably imported D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes, reserve 1/4 of the tomatoes to add at the end, hand crushed
- 2 Tablespoons Casa M Spice Co® Uncontrolled Chain Reaction®
- 2 Tablespoons Casa M Spice Co® Uncontrolled Cattle Drive®
- 2 Tablespoons Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Pulling It All Together:
- 4 pounds ground beef
- 2 bottles red wine
- 1/2 cup of mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, and marjoram)
...to get the tiny, fine consistency of the Bolognese sauce we learned to love in Italy, we combine the ground beef and wine together and using hands, mix them together to "dissolve" the ground beef in the wine.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
Start early! This one cooks almost all day, though it's largely hands-off. Preheat the oven to 275°F
Add 3/4 of the tomatoes into a large mixing bowl and crush them by hand. Add the Casa M Spice Co® seasonings and fresh herbs and mix well. Pour the tomatoes into a LARGE Dutch oven with a lid and place it into the oven with the lid very slightly ajar to let steam out. You're concentrating the tomato sauce a bit here. You'll notice the level go down as the day goes on. Let this simmer in the oven all day, stirring about every 2 hours. We usually let ours cook for 8 hours, adding the meat and vegetables at the mid-point.
In a large sautée pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the puréed vegetables to the sautée pan and cook them over medium-high heat until they start to give up their liquid, then reduce the heat to simmer and let them cook uncovered for about 4 hours stirring roughly every hour to check for any sticking on the bottom of the pan. At the first sign of sticking, turn the heat off.
In a large mixing bowl or ziplock bag combine the ground beef and wine and mix well using your hands to break up the ground beef into the wine such that it is soupy and there are no large clumps of beef.
About halfway through the cook time of the red gravy (about 4 hours in), remove the Dutch oven from the oven and carefully add the sautéed vegetables, the remaining fresh herbs, and the wine/beef mixture. Mix well, cover again with the lid slightly ajar, and return to the oven.
At the end of the cook time, remove the pot from the oven, add the remaining crushed tomatoes, mix well, and taste to adjust seasoning with more Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®, Cattle Drive®, salt, and pepper.
Serve over pasta of your choice or ravioli with Parmesan cheese on top. This sauce freezes quite well. Good thing since it makes a huge batch. Feel free to half this recipe as needed.