Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not (Quite) Bolognese

The sort of bolognese simmers on the stove.

I'm hungry. But I don't quite have fresh ingredients on hand.

Instead, the freezer is full of foodstuffs I've laid up for a rainy day, and since today was a bit rainy, it's time to put them to good use - and I've had sugo de bolognese on the mind.

Problem is: I don't have all the proper ingredients for a traditional bolognese. Digging into the freezer, I find a pound of ground beef, a pound of homemade chorizo (I think) sausage, some blanched and frozen haricort verts, homemade demiglace and tomato water. In the fridge, I find some carrots, onions, bell peppers and garlic. No celery, no bacon (Good God!) and no cream. Not to mention the most pedestrian bottle of red wine that I have on hand is a 2009 Madrigal Zinfandel.

What does all this mean? It's going to be a bit of a freestyle fest. Luckily, I have plenty of butter.

The veggies go into the food processor while the olive oil and butter heats in my new orange (or as they say: "valencia") Le Creuset 7.25qt big honking pot.

Sizzle the essentially pureed veggies in the pot until they start to turn color then add the ground meats, cooking them until they start to brown. Then add some red wine and burn it off.

While all of this is happening, I've been reducing the tomato water into a nice, thick sludge for maximum concentrated flavor. Once the wine is burned off, in goes the tomato liquid and maybe a bit too much demiglace. Boil it off for a minute or two and then reduce to low flame. Now, I'm gonna let this sucker simmer for a couple of hours.

I'm supposed to add sage. I'm supposed to add salt and pepper, but the chorizo style ground sausage is pretty jacked on seasonings that I decide to wait and see. About 30 minutes into the simmer, I give it a taste. Not surprisingly, there's a strong sense of chorizo but it's pretty good. In a little while, I'll add some milk to smoothen it out and then see how it does on pasta.

And maybe as a taco...