To make up for months of no posts on my veg blog, I decided to go right ahead and whip up the BEST GODDAMN BOLOGNESE I’VE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.
Perhaps this is because I’m British, and we’re going through a spell of getting things right. Or maybe it’s because I used a particular kind of veg for this dish:
Yeah that’s right. I wrote “HOME GROWN” using home grown produce (but then had to write this in case you couldn’t tell what it said).
Seriously, cooking with home grown veg is on a whole other level. These beautiful potatoes sat and grew in little sacks in our yard for months, and now here they are, all smooth and glossy and perfect, like babies. Like the children I never had, yet, or whatever.
Here they are just after harvesting:
And here they are lined up like one of those infographics that shows you the comparative size of planets in the universe:
Okay, so, the recipe for life affirming veggie bolognese:
Dad-grown swiss chard & shallots
Rosemary picked from behind the bus stop (while everyone looks at you thinking you’re insane)
Tin of chopped tomato
Marmite (or shop’s own brand yeast extract - its all the same stuff)
I’m not going to go through every bit of this as it’s pretty easy (and if I don’t start shortening my blog posts I won’t get round to posting for another 6 months…) so just chop up your veg and get frying.
Start with the onion, shallots, garlic, and green chili in a pan with a bit of butter and olive oil.
Let them get a little bit of colour, and then add your soya mince, a satisfying squeeze of tomato puree, and a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Once the flavours are all blending beautifully, add a good bit of red wine. Heck, add as much as you like (not a whole bottle, but more than a dash. Somewhere in between those two measurements).
Let all this simmer away and infuse, and then stir in nature’s most psychedelic leafy vegetable: Swiss chard!
Watch as the pan explodes with pink, yellow, and green shades of delicious allotment-grown magic. I remember the first time someone showed me swiss chard and I thought it was some kind of cosmic joke. Mother Earth does like to trip us out from time to time, doesn’t she?
Anyway, enough about chard. Back to the cooking.
It’s time to give this dish a layer of deep, rich, yeasty flavour that feels like a really comfy armchair whilst watching a challenging yet very watchable film on DVD. You feel like you’re being pushed just enough to keep your mind engaged, but you’re essentially comfortable and oh so happy to be there.
Meanwhile: new pan. More oil. Bit of butter. Crushed garlic. Rosemary from the bus stop.
Get your yard grown spud slices in there for 8-10 minutes, or until they start going brown and crispy, and then we should be ready to check the seasoning of our bolognese and…
Serve it up, grate some cheddar on top and get stuck in. You’ll feel a wave of excitement mixed with comfort mixed with relief and also hope. It’s like when you wake up and realise its Saturday morning and that you’ve got no plans and then you realise its sunny and someone already put some coffee on. It’s that good. Embrace it without fear.