Ooh, now who doesn’t love a good bol? I can’t actually take credit for this recipe as it’s my dads, and one of our best and tastiest family recipes.
In our family bolognese isn’t an every day food, it’s made with love for special occasions, like for Boxing Day, and then stored in portions in the freezer for when it’s needed most. There’s an inherited anxiety in my family where if you don’t have back-up bol in the freezer, you might starve.
When we were younger we would eat this with packet spaghetti, it’s since evolved to home made fresh spaghetti or tagliatelle which again is a family affair, stretching and rolling out the dough and hanging it in the attic. You can see where my love of food comes from!
I have to modify this recipe slightly because Gary can’t eat celery (he’s really intolerant). So my ‘sofrito’ of onions, celery, pepper and carrot becomes simply onions pepper and carrot. If you can eat celery though, do put it in because it really increases the savouriness.
Serves 4 (with extra for freezing)
1.5kg mince – all beef is fine but if you have the option, half pork half beef is nice too
Small glass red wine
5-6 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
3 medium bay leaves
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 beef stock cubes
Olive oil, for frying
Dice up the onion, celery, carrots and peppers very finely, as fine as you can. In a large, oven-proof pan, heat a little of the olive oil and soften the veg on a low heat for 10-15 mins. Remove from pan and set to one side, depending on how much mince you’re working with.
Brown the mince (you may need to do this in batches) until it’s 70-80% browned and then add the vegetables back to the pan. Next, add the tomatoes, rinsing the packaging out with the red wine (or water) to make sure you get it all. Add the oregano, nutmug, bay leaves, salt, pepper, sugar and stock cube and stir.
Place in a low oven (around 100-150 degrees) for a couple of hours, without the lid. Keep checking on it and when the surface goes all browny black and sticks to the sides, scrape it off the sides and stir it in to the red mixture, repeat every 20 to 30 mins. This makes it all sticky and gives it an almost caramelised taste.