If you’re a home cook you need a good meat sauce recipe up your sleeve. This is one of mine. Its secret is that I don’t brown the meat. That way it doesn’t toughen and need hours of braising to tenderize again. I also use a food processor to save a lot of knife work. Quick, easy and tasty!
Yield: 4-6 Servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, cut into large
3 cloves garlic
2 cups button mushrooms
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, or bacon, thinly sliced
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground veal
1 can tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 bay leaves
1 large can stewed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Pulse onions, carrots, garlic cloves, mushrooms, celery and olive oil in a food processor until finely chopped. This may need to be done in several batches.
Heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and add pancetta. Fry until golden, aromatizing the oil with the rich flavour of the Italian bacon. Add the vegetable mixture and sauté until it begins to caramelize. Add ground meats and stir vigorously to break apart. Stir in the tomato paste, red wine, bay leaf and stewed tomatoes and continue to stir and break up any chunks of meat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and all the flavours have blended. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
The only thing better than a fire-grilled steak is the same steak with a round of flavoured butter slowly melting overtop, forming a rich, tasty sauce as it mingles with the steak’s juices. For the ultimate grilled steak experience, try taking the time to build a hardwood fire in your backyard!
Braising is my favourite cooking method. I just love the way it can transform an inexpensive, tough cut of beef into a tasty tender stew. Toss in the earthy flavours of root vegetables and aromatic red wine, and you are well on your way to a rich flavour base. But the real secret to a truly memorable beef stew is patiently browning the meat.