Friday 16 March 2007

St. Paddy's Bolognese

St. Pat's Day: Green or Irish I really don't go in for St. Patrick's Day (or St. Guinness' Day as far as most of the World outside Ireland are concerned), even though I do like Guinness. Let's face it, the whole thing has been completely taken over by Irish alcoholic drinks manufacturers, and not being Irish, I think you'd have to drink quite a lot to give the time of day to stories of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. At least the stories about St. David are slightly more believable and less mythical sounding, and yet you don't see half the world spending the day eating Leek based dishes or drinking Brains Bitter until they can't stand anymore. Still, I'm not going to stop anyone having a good time and the only people I'm hoping do stop anyone having a good time are the Welsh Rugby team by living up to the expression "you can lose to anyone you want except the English".

It being a long day of Six Nations Rugby ahead, I definitely needed to ensure that I had a good meal before heading to the local to watch the 3 matches, and this blog event definitely caught my attention. But deciding what to cook which both satisfied the requirements of this event, as well as getting me ready for a day in the pub was a little difficult.

So I decided to go for a bit of a combination. St. Paddy's Bolognese is pretty much the Tag Bog (Spag Bog, Spag Bol, Tag Bol) recipe I made before, only using Guinness as well. I did think of adding potatoes, but that's just going too far. However, it still didn't sound particularly Irish, and so to inject some 'green' into it, I decided to serve it with Tagliatelle Verde.

The problem was that it was going to be a fairly early start with the first game kicking off at 1:30pm, and with staying up late to watch the F1 qualifying the night before, I decided to prepare the Ragu while waiting for the qualifying to start. The main difficulty was not eating it before the morning, especially with the gorgeous smell wafting through my flat once all the ingredients were together.

I must say, this post makes me sound like a bit of a sports nut, but I don't think I'm that bad. I do enjoy some motor sport and, being Welsh, I have to watch Rugby (especially when Wales and England are playing each other). But the fact that the first F1 race of the new season and the last matches of the Six Nations are on the same weekend, means that it is probably the most sport I will watch over a weekend until the Rugby World Cup starts in September.

Recipe for St. Paddy's Bolognese
  • 400g Lean Minced Beef
  • 200g Pancetta, cubed (Smoked bacon, normal or streaky, can also be used as long as it's cut into small pieces)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ large onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery finely diced
  • 3 carrots finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bottle of Guinness
  • 1 glass of Red Wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Concentrated Tomato Puree
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoon Hot Chili Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)
The cooking method was pretty much as before. First frying the Pancetta, then adding the onion, celery and carrot until the onion becomes transparent. Next, the minced beef was added until lightly browned, and then the booze was put in and cooked until reduced by about half (well, there was quite a bit more than last time). Then the rest of the ingredients were added, brought to the boil, then simmered for the next 3 hours.

Pretty much like the last sauce I made except with the addition of Guinness and Fish Sauce instead of Salt. If it's good enough for Heston Blumenthal, it's good enough for me. I was thinking about adding some Star Anise too, but none of my local shops had any, and my local Sainsbury's is truly terrible for buying anything except a few ingredients. They didn't even sell Tagliatelle Verde, so I bought the mixed bag and just pulled out the green stuff for serving (I'll have the normal tagliatelle with the leftovers).

Starting cooking a meal at midnight is definitely a bad move, even if you have a good reason like I did. But the resultant ragu was very good, even though I do say myself. The addition of Guinness, although even less Italian than my last sauce, was definitely a good idea, so it might end up being a permanent fixture in future.


Susan in Italy said...

Hi, From my experience, it's St. Guinness day inside Ireland as well. Have a good one!

Anonymous said...

Saw your post in the St.Paddy's day round-up. I would love some of the St Paddy's Bolognese...looks so yummy!

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