Sunday, 1 May 2011

Might be Better than Mom’s - Turkey Bolognase

As a child, one of my favourite things to eat was spaghetti, sitting in the kitchen handing my mom ingredients or cutting things up for the sauce, the garlic bread, salad… the whole meal was an experience I remember with clarity. As I got older and I would come home to visit, I’d watch the beef fry in the pan and the grease float around the pot...it became a less than appetizing experience for me. So as an adult I had to adapt the recipe for my personal lifestyle, by making vegetable spaghetti, or substituting the beef with ground turkey or even soy mince. But, sometimes it just doesn’t taste like mom’s. Fortunately I feel like I’ve made a good balance between the two, my mom’s and mine, to find something that gives me the homey comfort of mom’s, but done my way.

When I first moved to England the dish they made that was very similar almost exactly the same is “Spaghetti Bolognese”. For testing recipe’s sake I looked through books and made the recipe from traditional ingredients such as beef. After I got it once, it was time to make it mine and take ingredients from its traditional recipe to enhance my own personal recipe. When this happened it became another favourite in my house, and especially for leftovers. It freezes remarkably and is versatile in that you can cook it for multiple guests or cook it to freeze for fast meals during the week. Although I’m in no way stating this recipe is “fast”, if you follow my steps you can cut down on your time so that you can get back to your glass of wine or guests faster. Another change I do to bump up fibre is I use whole wheat pasta, anything you like will work but if I can add some extra nutrition in there I always squeeze it in, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice too much of the flavour, but I find that I quite like it and I’d even go as far as to say that I like it better. Again, this recipe has a lot of ingredients, and can be changed any way you like, it’s the technique and steps for preparation that make it important, and if you wanted to make it vegetarian with soy mince, or just vegetables, I would omit the wine from the recipe and just drink it instead :) So without further ado.

Turkey Bolognese:

500g (1lb) Ground turkey mince
1 large carrot (or 1-2 small)
2 stalks celery
1 medium green pepper
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried basil
2 400g (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock (Low Sodium)
1 large glass of red wine (always use a wine you want to drink during the meal)
200g mushrooms (any type)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light oil
Pasta 50-75g per person (weighing food really helps keep your proportions realistic)

To Start Dice Veggies and group individually:
  1. Celery
    Carrot
    Onion
    Green pepper
  2. Garlic (I always put it in the middle so it doesn’t burn out the flavour)
  3. Mushrooms (Slice)
Other Prep:

Prepare beef stock (or you can use pre made stock, I usually just use the cubes and hot water)

Pour a large glass of wine

Measure the pasta and get the water on the back burner to get warm

To Cook:

  1. In a large sauce pot heat the oil, then add mince turkey, carrot, celery, onion, and pepper, oregano, basil, and stir until the meat is all browned and the veggies have begun to break down. 
  2. Add the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have softened. Then add garlic, stir for about 2 minutes
  3. Turn up the heat and add wine, stock, tomatoes, bay leaves and stir. Bring to a hard boil and boil for about 5 minutes then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally until most of the liquid is evaporated (this is important) and all the vegetables are soft and cooked through.
  4. Taste and add as much sugar as you need to balance the acidity.
  5. Salt and Pepper as needed.
This could take anywhere from 1hr to 2hrs depending on how quickly you want to get done with it. At this stage it can just rest and simmer while you entertain guests, make the salad, garlic bread or do other things, sit back enjoy some wine and let it develop itself with delicious deep earthy wine flavour combined with herbs it’ll make it worth the wait. Cooking shouldn’t be a race, but however I do know that with feeding families it’s important to get the food on the table. As long as you follow the steps or use the same ingredients you should be able to adapt it to your cooking style after you get the groove of it. I hope you enjoy eating this as much as I enjoy making it. To adapt it to a vegetarian, use any diced vegetables you want, I like to add frozen spinach, courgettes (zucchini), eggplant (aubergine) anything you could possibly want. If you really wanted to add wine, I would just add less. But other than that it should be very adaptable. Enjoy!

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