slow bolognese sauce recipe

This is how you make the best bolognese sauce!

We will stay with our Southern neighbours for a bit longer: after the delicious Belgian chocolate mousse, today I have a (okay, Italian…) recipe from a guy we call “chefke”.

“Chefke” is actually called Jeroen Meus and is a famous television chef from Belgium. He has is own delicious cooking program called “Daily dishes”. Fresh ingredients, simple cooking and a fine Belgian accent (which my Mr G. unfortunately doesn’t have despite his Belgian passport); I love it!

One Sunday I thought it would be nice to spend a whole afternoon on cooking a bolognese sauce. Well, it was worth the time because since that day, this is the only bolognese sauce we’re eating.

3 hours of patience

“What? A whole afternoon?!” I hear you thinking. But relax: making the sauce will cost you about half an hour, after which your oven does the rest of the work. This bolognese will be in the oven for 3 hours at a low temperature; imagine what that does to the taste!

Slow cooking it is, while you can do something else. This is a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Choose the largest (ovenproof) pan you have so you have enough left over to freeze. Because no matter how delicious this sauce is, it’s not really a pasta sauce that you quickly make on a weekday evening while your hungry family is waiting…

Bouquet garni fresh herbs

The best bolognese ever by “chefke”

Serves 2-3 people

    • 1/2 kg mixed minced meat
    • 2 thick slices of pancetta, into very small cubes
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1/2 clove garlic finely chopped or pressed
    • 2 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into small pieces
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
    • 125 gr mushrooms, quartered
    • 50 gr tomato puree (concentrated)
    • 400 gr tomato cubes (canned)
    • 1 1/2 dl tomato passata
    • 1/2 dl red wine
    • 1 sprig rosemary
    • A few sprigs of thyme
    • A few sprigs of fresh oregano
    • A few bay leaves
    • Olive oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Grated Parmesan
  1. Heat a good splash of oil in a large, ovenproof pan (e.g. cast iron) and cook the onion. Stir frequently and do not let them colour
  2. Add the celery and carrot, stirring often
  3. Carefully wash the fresh herbs and tie them together with a piece of kitchen twine. Add the bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and oregano to the pan. You could also use dried herbs
  4. Allow the vegetables to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a 2nd pan and fry the meat until golden
  6. Add the pancetta to the vegetables. Turn up the heat a little higher and let the Italian bacon braise; then turn off the fire
  7. Put the meat, without the fat, to the vegetables with pancetta using a slotted spoon and hold the pan aside
  8. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees
  9. Fry the mushrooms in the cooking fat of the meat pan until golden brown. Add the mushrooms to the sauce, again without the baking fat
  10. Put the sauce pan on a low heat and stir in the tomato puree
  11. Pour the red wine into the pan and stir until the alcohol has evaporated
  12. Add the canned tomato cubes and passata
  13. Stir well, cover the pan with an ovenproof lid and place it in the preheated oven. And now: wait for 3 hours while your kitchen will smell wonderful …
  14. After 3 hours remove the bolognaise from the oven and take out the bouquet garni
  15. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

This is so delicious…. Serve steaming hot spaghetti with a generous portion of this bolognese and finish with some grated Parmesan. Freeze any sauce that’s left; good tip from Jamie Oliver: use those freezer zipper bags. It will save you a lot of space compared to jars and your sauce thaws much faster!

Would like to see or read more about “chefke” and many of his other recipes? Check out the (Dutch) website!

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