February 3, 2011
When life gives you top round, make bolognese
I really thought I had an extra package of chopped meat in the basement freezer.
I always buy a large family-style 3 pounder when they are at $1.79 per pound and in a quart freezer bag I flatten out 1 pound portions and lay them flat in the freezer.
This way I can pull one out when I need a pound.
No chopped meat, only top round and Italian sausage but that is enough for a decent bolognese. Now, normally I would just go to the store and buy more chopped meat but if you have been following the weather on the East Coast you know we got an ice storm last night. Top round will do fine!!
I will dice this fine piece of meat (which I actually consider not good for anything BUT slow cooked recipes) into very small pieces and simmer that with the sausage meat and have enough for a substantial amount of bolognese for tonight and Saturday's Pizza alla Bismark.
This is how I do it:
* 1/2 pound top round, minced
* 3 Italian sausages, casings removed
* 1 sweet onion, chopped
* 1 carrot, grated
* 1 small can tomato paste
* white wine, water and milk
* salt & pepper
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Saute the sausage in a non-stick pan, remove to a dish lined with paper towels, but leave the fat in the pan. You want to saute it until the edges are browned and caramelized (that's where all the flavor is, very important step).
Add the top round and saute that the same way, until caramelized and crispy.
Remove the beef to another plate lined with paper towels. Wipe the saute pan clean. Add some olive oil.
Add onion and carrot. Saute until softened, add tomato paste and caramelize, stirring frequently.
Add sausage and beef back to the pan with the vegetable mixture and add the white wine to deglaze. Once the wine has evaporated add about 1 cup of water, turn down the heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook until all moisture evaporates.
This is where you make the decision....crockpot or stovetop (either way will not effect the outcome of the dish, just do what is easier for you). Crockpot on high for 4 hours.
If opting for the stovetop method, add another cup of water, repeating procedure until the meat is falling apart soft (about 3 hours). Check for seasonings, add milk and simmer to thick consistency (a bolognese has no wet sauce, it is all meat) sprinkle on lots of grated cheese and serve.
The technique is to simmer, reduce, add liquid, simmer, reduce, add liquid for about 3 hours. You will have one of the best bolognese you ever had and you made it!!
The Nudge wanted spaghetti and he gets what he wants (well, this time). I would usually serve this with a papardelle or a rigatoni.
Review: I will never use chopped meat in my bolognese again. The sausage made a great addition, also. This was fabulous. The Nudge went back for another spoonful to top his spaghetti. I can not wait to make the Pizza alla Bismark on Saturday.