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Bolognese

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
So, i can make an awesome shepherds pie, chilli con carne, and basic tomato pasta sauce but im strugglig with bolognese!!

For a basic pasta sauce i just do onions, tinned tomatoes, some veges, dried basil and oregano and its awesome but if i try and make bolognese like that (adding a beef oxo cube as well) it just doesnt taste right!

What am i doing wrong?! :banghead:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lexi99 wrote: »
    So, i can make an awesome shepherds pie, chilli con carne, and basic tomato pasta sauce but im strugglig with bolognese!!

    For a basic pasta sauce i just do onions, tinned tomatoes, some veges, dried basil and oregano and its awesome but if i try and make bolognese like that (adding a beef oxo cube as well) it just doesnt taste right!

    What am i doing wrong?! :banghead:

    Doesnt taste right? How so?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    GoodFella wrote: »
    Doesnt taste right? How so?

    I dont know, it just doesnt taste like bolognese. Ive got the basic ingredients right though, i cant think of anything im missing (apart from maybe a different mix of herbs?)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tinned tomatoes come with an odd flavour i find. I still use them but it takes abit of seasoning to get right.

    I do pretty much the same as you, but i use chicken stock, garlic, some tomato puree and some worcestershire sauce. Then just season to taste really. Took a couple of goes to get right i found.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yea i'll have to give it another try, i just dont wanna mess it up and end up wasting all the ingredients
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    add port and tobasco
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katralla wrote: »
    tobasco

    Yeh deffo. Im literally obsessed with it. It gives me a boner just thinking about it!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    and vodka
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katralla wrote: »
    add port

    Red wine makes a real difference (I'm too poor for port :p)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you put an oxo cube in bolognese??


    I would lightly fry some onions and garlic, maybe a little celery, then the lean minced beef, then add chopped tomatoes/passata. Add a few chopped olives or capers, maybe pine nuts. Add basil and oregano, a little bit of extra tom puree if you like, maybe a squeeze of ketchup and maybe a dash of red wine if you like.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I do what Suzi says. Definitely no oxo cube in it for me.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Large(ish) onion, carrot and a stick of celerly. Chop up quite fine and put in a COLD saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Bring up to temperature and fry for about five minutes. Starting from cold stops anything from burning and tasting bitter.

    Add a clove or two of crushed garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Don't put the garlic in at the start, over fried garlic is bitter.

    Add your meat, and stir until it's all evenly browned. Add you tomatoes. Put in 1 teaspoon of sugar for every tin of tomatoes you use to help counteract the 'tinny/metalic' taste they can have. You might need to experiment with this, find the right ammount of sugar to suit you.

    Add a glass of red wine if you want, nothing expensive but as in most cooking use a wine you'd drink. Don't put any herbs, salt or pepper in. Bring it to simmering point and simmer for at least 1 hour, prefferably 3. Yeah i know it's a long time, but that's how you get a good Bolognaise.

    When ready, check and season to taste. If you want herbs add them now but only use fresh. Basil/oregano i'd use. If you really want herbs in and only have dried, put them in about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time.

    If you can, make it the day before you need it. Bolognaise, chilli, curry etc always taste better the day after you've made them.

    And on a final note. If you put an OxO in Bolognaise again, i'll slap your legs !
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The secret to yummy bolognese is, surprisingly, to use white wine rather than red. Check out this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/nov/25/how-to-make-perfect-bolognese

    I tried white wine, feeling quite dubious, but it made it very tasty and I've never gone back to red.

    Obviously all the classic recipes call for chicken livers, but I have never tried this.

    I would echo RubberSkin's emphasis on fresh herbs; if you do use dried, go easy on them, as they are strong and can overpower the dish. I also agree that it tastes better the next day. I generally make a huge vat, put some of it into a lasagne, eat some as spag bol. It also freezes well.

    I disagree about the oxo bashing though. I quite often add an oxo to mine, along with a load of other random condiments I chuck into the vat: a tablespoon of balsamic, a tablespoon of worcester sauce. It's yummy.

    I think it's quite a personal thing, everyone has different ideas, and you have to try different things out and see how they work. I tried the sugar thing and didn't like it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok ok I'll try it without an oxo cube and see how it goes! I feel like without it, there wont be enough sauce and if there is it will be too runny. I guess an extra squeeze of tomato puree will sort that out though
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How do you serve it ? Pasta with the sauce on top or all mixed up like Italians do ?

    If you mix the sauce and the pasta, give it a good stir and serve then there'll be enough sauce to go round.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Slightly dumb question from me, but how does adding the oxo cube help with the quantity of sauce? Or do you add it diluted up with water? In which case that sheds even more light on the problem.

    If you're short on sauciness, add more passata. If you just need to richen up the sauce, then concentrate tomatoe puree is the business.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yes, carrots and balsamic vinegar. I use those too
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    seriously dont put oxo in it
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    IME the Oxo cube doesn't really make too much difference to the quantity of sauce, it just adds a little bit of flavour. Don't use the beef cubes though, it's overpowering, we always use the green vegatable cubes. It does make a difference and it's a cheat's way of adding the taste of veggy stock. If you don't add the stock cube it will be exactly the same consistency as if you do add it.

    I add a bit of worcester sauce and sometimes even a bit of brown sauce. Whether it remains Bolognese or is just a random tomato sauce I don't know, but I like it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    seriously dont put oxo in it

    Why? I quite often put one in mine, when I'm chucking random stuff in.

    That said, I make such a big vat and throw so much stuff in that it probably gets diluted. But it definitely doesn't seem to make it taste bad.

    ETA: oh, but I should say, I don't add water to the oxo and make up stock, I just crumble a stock cube in to the cauldron.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    it makes it way too salty imo and detracts from the tomatoeyness. Just the wrong flavour.
    I dont mind stock cubes in other stuff
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's all about different tastes. I don't add any salt to it but will put one vegetable stock cube in a big pan of it, together with a shedload of tomatoes and basil and oregano and onions and garlic and garlic and garlic. Really don't use the beef one though, that is far too salty and is completely the wrong taste.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, I think it's the kind of thing you just need to experiment with to work out what you like. I tend to like mine really tomatoey, so use loads of chopped tomatoes and reduce it down so it gets really sweet. But I think this is a very non-authentic and bastardized version of the Italian dish - that guardian article reckons that white wine and milk is traditional, rather than red wine and lads of tomatoes.

    So there's no right answer, you just have to experiment and work out what you like. I do recommend a bit of smoked bacon or pancetta in there, as well as beef, however.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yea i did wonder about a vege one instead. I usually make up the stock with a cube and water, thats how i get more sauce, so ok, more tomatoes and puree next time
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh yeah, I probably wouldn't make it with stock, that would make it too runny and tasteless, I think.

    Use lots of chopped tomatoes, or passata if you prefer, to create the liquid, and some wine.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    seriously dont put oxo in it

    ^^ This

    You just don't need them. If you use onion, carrot and celery that's the baics of stock making so you won't need one. If you're making a Bolognaise from scratch, you're making a decent, fresh home cooked meal with no artificial crap in it, why spoil it ? Stock cubes are great, for making stock. You don't need stock in a Bolognaise sauce. Also the salt issue. You should always, if you can, salt food at the end of cooking. If you put a stock cube in at the start, you can't take it out if it's too salty.

    True the pasta police aren't going to arrest you for using one :) but try it without. One of the fundamentals of cookery - experimenting.

    But *Trisha/Jeremy Kyle moment* 'at the end of the day' you're the one who's cooking it so do what you feel you want to. Adding, or not adding in this case, one thing isn't going to ruin your dish so give it a try. You can always go back to using them.

    And while we're on stock cubes - Marco Pierre White are you a lying cunt ? A Michellin star quality chef uses Knorr stock cubes ? Oh do fuck off.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    what everyone else has said (bar oxo cube :yuck: ).. lots of squirts of concentrated tomato puree to really tang it up. when finished rip up some shreds of basil leaves and chuck it on top.. oh and paramasan.. why has no one mentioned parmasan??
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I like the idea of putting port in it: you're getting the depth of flavour you'd get from wine, but with the sweetness sorting out the metalic/sharp taste you get from tinned tomatoes (I've used sugar before, but it makes me feel like a savage in doing so).
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ah port, now I want a spicy bloody mary- dinner in a liquid form.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    RubberSkin wrote: »
    And while we're on stock cubes - Marco Pierre White are you a lying cunt ? A Michellin star quality chef uses Knorr stock cubes ? Oh do fuck off.

    He probably does however, not the solid form. Knorr also produce a professional quality stock concentrate (the jelly type) which is industry standard and many many many michelin star chefs and restaurants use. I heard it from people in the know ;)

    As for the bolognese; i use onions, celery, carrots, garlic, full fat mince, passata and even though i hate the taste a big glass of red (the boy and kids love it). If it's lacking flavour i will add beef/veal stock (veal has a nicer flavour) but not oxo, NEVER oxo. I actually can't eat my mums food because of how much oxo she uses....it's horrible and full of msg!!!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lexi99 wrote: »
    So, i can make an awesome shepherds pie, chilli con carne, and basic tomato pasta sauce but im strugglig with bolognese!!

    For a basic pasta sauce i just do onions, tinned tomatoes, some veges, dried basil and oregano and its awesome but if i try and make bolognese like that (adding a beef oxo cube as well) it just doesnt taste right!

    What am i doing wrong?! :banghead:

    Add white wine, garlic, sugar, salt, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Omit the stock cube. Premium tinned tomatos help too.
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