Bolognese is a glorious thing, in my opinion. Each time we go shopping I make a huge batch of bolognese which we then store in the freezer. Any time we either don't have the time to cook, or we fancy something a little meaty, we pull out a container and transform it into one of the following recipes.
I use kangaroo mince. I'm a big fan of kangaroo, as it's low in fat, high in iron, environmentally sustainable and delicious. I've also mentioned low fat for most ingredients, but of course use the full fat versions if you prefer.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes (or longer if you wish)
Makes: 8 servings
Ingredients 1kg kangaroo mince
4 large brown onions, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 celery, chopped
2-3 800g cans of diced tomatoes
Italian herb mix
Red wine, optional
I say that the red wine is optional, however, most of the ingredients can be omitted and others added, depending on your taste. Even the mince could be substituted for lentils.
Fry the onion, carrot and zucchini in a frypan. When almost soft, add the mince and cook until brown.
Add the diced tomatoes, herbs, bay leaves and a splash of red wine. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, with the occasional stir.
Leave the sauce for a good hour, or more, until it has thickened. I often add some water during the process to allow the sauce to continue cooking longer.
1. Shepherd's Pie
If you haven't included vegetables in your sauce, this is definitely the time to add them. Set your oven to 200°C. Boil some peeled potatoes, then mash them. Fill a baking dish with the bolognese sauce, almost up to the edge, then cover with the potato mash. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the potato is golden brown. For a bit of tang, I put some white wine vinegar in the mash, finely chopped zucchini and chilli flakes in the bolognese sauce and fresh mint scattered on the final dish.
We buy a pack of low fat tortillas from the supermarket and store them in the freezer. While the tortillas defrost, warm up some bolognese sauce on the stove top and prepare your other ingredients. Chop up some tomatoes and iceberg lettuce and grate some low fat cheddar cheese. Place ingredients on serving platters and add hummus on the side. Warm the tortillas according to the packet instructions and place on plates – each person can now serve themselves.
For a quesadilla twist, place the fillings on one tortilla and top with another tortilla. Toast in a sandwich press for about 4 minutes.
This is also another dish that is enhanced with added vegetables. Warm up the sauce on the stove top and add some carrots, zucchini or celery if you haven't yet. Set your oven to 200°C. Lay a third of your lasagne sheets in a single layer in a deep baking dish and cover with some of the sauce. Repeat once and finish with the last lasagne sheets. Combine some grated low fat cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream in a bowl, season and layer over the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
We love this with a spot of salad on the side – some chopped tomatoes, olives and capers with lemon juice works nicely.
Allow two sheets of puff pastry to defrost, then cut each sheet diagonally. Put two tablespoons of sauce in each half and fold over. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15 – 20 minutes, turning over after about 10 minutes.
Warm up some bolognese sauce on the stove top. Meanwhile, make some guacamole sauce by combining mashed avocado, diced tomato, chilli flakes and lemon juice. Grate some low fat cheddar cheese. Spoon the sauce over corn chips in a large bowl and top with the cheese. Serve with the guacamole and low fat sour cream on the side.
6. Chilli Con Carne
Warm some sauce in a pot. Add kidney beans and a smattering of chilli flakes. I like to throw over some freshly chopped parsley too.
7. And of course… Pasta Bolognese
Add some sauce to al dente cooked pasta, whichever type you choose. Spaghetti, of course, is the classic.