Saturday, February 10, 2007

Meat sauce (Ragout) **

We love italian food. I don't know if it was them who originally came up with the divine combination of tomato, garlic, basil and cheese, but that is just sheer genius. Yes, alright, they have a variety of dishes in different parts of Italy, but let's face it. That is Italian food. It is like the French are known to put garlic in every dish, the Japanese are supposed to pour soy sauce on everything .

Anyway, this is our somewhat basic sauce using tomato, garlic, meat and basil. It is close to what the Italians would call a Ragout (pronouced ra-guu, not rag-out) but we call it the "meat sauce" because it is usually called mee-toh soh-su in Japan.

- 2 table spoon of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic (3 if you are an Italian, 4+ if you are from France)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 big carrot, grated
- 1 celery branch (or 1/4 celeriac), grated
- 3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
- about 600gr minced meat (beef or a mix beef/pork)
- 2 glasses of red or white wine
- 2 tins of peeled tomatoes (250gr each)
- about 150ml tomato puree
- 1 or 2 cubes of beef stock
- salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly grated Nutmeg
- freshly grated Parmesan
- fresh basil (optional)

Put the olive oil and squashed garlic into the deep cooking pan and start heating it with moderate heat. Put bacon and onion when the garlic starts to sizzle. lower the heat and mix till the onion bits become translucent. Then put the grated carrot and cerely into the pan. Turn up the heat a bit and mix, add the minced meat, salt and pepper and turn up the heat a bit more to cook the meat.

When the meat is half cooked, add the tomatoes and the juice from the tin with some tomato puree. Rinse the tin with two glasses of wine and put them in the pan as well. Keep stiring it and add the beef stock cubes, clove, sugar, nutmeg and bay leaf. Put the lid on (with a small gap for the pressure to escape) and simmer it for about 1-2 hours on low heat.

Check it every 20min and stir to make sure it does not get burned at the bottom of the pan. If it is too liquidy for your taste, take away the lid and simmer it for a while till you are happy with it.

This sauce could be used for spaghetti Bolognese (add parmesan and basil and stir before serving) or preparing Lasagna. I pesonally feel that the sauce tastes better after a day or two in the fridge.

A bit of footnote: Get a good tin of tomatoes. In our local supermarkets, the price range is something like 60 yen to 110 yen. For this sauce I would go for the 110 yen tins that are less watery than the cheaper brands.

1 comment:

M said...

Huuuuuum, meat sauce is delicious indeed.
Just one thing. We DO NOT put garlic in everything, only when necessary (nealy all the time, that is).
And I agree, Japanese DO put soy sauce on eveything. That is true.