Winter is here, well not officially here but that cold nip is in the air and that means it is time for some warming, home cooked dinners. Bolognese is a favourite in our household but I am trying to eat less (gluten free) pasta and stick to more unprocessed foods. I thought about serving Bolognese on a baked potato but something about cold weather makes me want to have a big pot of something in the oven. This may seem to be a rehash of cottage pie and that is because it is but in my opinion much nicer. I’m not much of a cottage pie fan if I’m honest. The great thing about this is it made enough for the both of us, with left overs for tomorrow and a couple spare for lunches at work.
I always find Bolognese tastes best made a day or two before, it saves some time too if you make it in advance. I made this sauce on Wednesday night, ready for a speedier dinner on Friday night. A decision I was mightily thankful for when I got in from work after a chilly bike ride home.
Ingredients: (Serves 6)
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 100 g of lardons
- ~700 g of minced lean beef
- 2 (400 g) tins of chopped tomatoes
- A glug of red wine
- 3 peppers, chopped
- 1 aubergine, diced
- 0.5 tsp of dried oregano
- 0.5 tsp of dried basil
- 1 tsp of dried thyme
- 1 tsp of dried rosemary
- 1 heaped tsp of unsweetened cocoa
- 1 stock cube/stock pot/ cup of stock, I went for chicken
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1tbsp of milk, or more, to get the right consistency
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Grated cheese or Parmesan
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic, onion and lardons and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the mince and stir until browned.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and red wine and bring to the boil.
- Add the peppers and aubergine and stir well.
- Add the herbs, cocoa and stock. Season, stir well and bring to the boil.
- Cover and lower the heat and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes (or longer if you have time, the longer the better)
- Store the sauce in the refrigerator (once it has cooled down) if you are making it in advance, if not then make the mashed potato whilst the sauce is simmering.
- To make the mashed potato, boil the chopped potato for 15 minutes, or until soft, and mash. Stir in the butter, milk and seasoning. You want the mash to be smooth and easily spreadable, so add milk until you get the right consistency.
- Pour the Bolognese sauce into a pie dish and top with mashed potato and then grated cheese.
- Bake for 30 mins, or 40 if using the sauce out of the refrigerator.
- Serve and enjoy!