With the colder weather in full swing I've been further experimenting with slow braises and casseroles. The above dish is a result from playing around in the kitchen. As I stated in my beef stifado recipe I like to use chuck steak in my casserole cooking. It's a cheap cut of meat, with a good amount of fat that melts as it is slowly cooked. I buy it in big pieces and cut it accordingly. What I did different this time was to grind it myself using the food processor. I was after a coarse grind but it ended up a little finer than I would have preferred. This dish is traditionally associated with spaghetti bolognaise but I can tell you now this recipe or method is nowhere near Bologna. I cooked this in a sealed cast iron pot in the oven for a good three hours on a very gentle heat. Although I did start it off on the stove top for the first half hour. It turned out gloriously rich with beautiful meaty flavours.
As with most slow cooked dishes I like to use a base of finely diced onions or leeks, celery and carrots. I like to fry these off in a combination of olive oil and butter. Adding a little chopped pancetta is a nice flavour enhancer at this point too. The liquid you choose will also vary the flavour of the dish. In this case I used a good quality red wine and some home made beef stock along with some crushed tomatoes. I added some fresh thyme but you could add pretty much anything you wanted. Flat leaf parsley would be a good choice here too. This tasted fantastic the next day and I froze a lot for future use. Always good to have a back up plan in the freezer.
Serve it up with your favourite pasta or use it as a filling for stuffed vegies...I'll leave that up to you. Just remember to enjoy it with a good red! I know I did!