Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slow-Cooker Bolognese

* Make Ahead * Slow Cooker * Weekend Meal *

Admit it. Sometimes you want a robust, hearty meat sauce in the summer. But no one likes standing over a hot stove all day when it’s 80 degrees out. Here is the perfect solution – a little sautéing and throw everything in your slow cooker for the day.

The original recipe does not call for skimming the fat from the sauce during the slow-cooking process. I would recommend using a wide, flat spoon to skim the fat off the top as it cooks. We had quite a bit accumulate and while a little is wonderful for flavor, you don’t want a greasy sauce.

Editor’s Note: Do not attempt to make this sauce unless you have a 6-quart slow cooker. If yours is 3-4.5 quarts, cut the recipe in half or you will not be able to fit the sauce in the cooker!

Looking for a healthier alternative to pasta? Try Dreamfields Pasta – it’s only 5 grams of digestible carbs per serving and we could not tell the difference in taste or texture from regular pasta!

Slow-Cooker Bolognese       
Courtesy of Cook’s Country
Serves 8 to 12

3 tbsp unsalted butter
½ small onion, chopped fine
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped fine
½ rib celery, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 lbs meatloaf mix, or 1½ pounds ground chuck and 1½ pounds ground pork
Salt and pepper
3 cups whole milk
3 cups dry white wine
2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes, ground in blender until smooth
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened but not colored, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up meat, until crumbled into tiny pieces and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add milk, bring to vigorous simmer, and cook until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, and thyme; cover and bring to boil.

Transfer mixture to slow cooker, cover, set temperature to high, and bring to boil.

Once mixture comes to boil, remove lid and simmer until sauce is very thick, 7 to 8 hours.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Make Ahead: This recipe can be partially made the night before so that it’s ready to place in the slow cooker in the morning. Complete steps 1 and 2 and refrigerate the mixture in the Dutch oven. The next morning, bring the mixture back to a boil, transfer it to the slow cooker, and proceed as directed.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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