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What's wrong with my Hazan ragu?

  • r

I've been preparing for this moment - attempting the all-great Hazan bolognese ragu - for a while and today, finally got the chance to set aside an entire afternoon devoted to babying the pot.

Along the way, my excitement started waning with the inevitable taste tests, and now, after the requisite 3 hrs, I find the result - for lack of a better way to put it - to be Italian taco meat. It's got a little char despite my having added more than the 1/2 c of water, an unappetizing texture resembling that of wet dog food, and little depth of flavor beyond an odd tin-nish aftertaste.

Maybe I'm just used to ragus made from wild boar meat or short ribs when I go out....but is this what it's supposed to taste like?

I'm willing to give it another go if I can just identify a mistake I made. Some potential problems:

1) I used a Meursault white wine.
2) I added some ground pork
3) I used a combo of creamline milk and light cream instead of the whole milk. For some reason, I couldn't find whole milk in any grocery store.
3) I initially had the heat going on a bit high but soon tamed it...

Are these enough to warrant a big change in how it tastes? Thanks for letting me know!

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  1. 1) Meursault sounds like an awfully nice wine to use for this.
    2) I use a combination of beef, veal and pork
    3) I always use whole milk
    4) V. slow simmer is the key

    It is a v. subtle sauce - but, IMHO, worth trying again. Re tin-ish after taste - what tomatoes did you use?

    1. Honestly, I didn't like it when I made the Hazan bolognese ragu either, and I followed the recipe basically to the letter. I think that it's that yes, I'm used to ragus made from non ground meat, and so the texture of the meat just didn't do it for me, and the flavor of the sauce wasn't really what I wanted it to be. I think that you could try it again, but I don't think that the taste is going to be that different from what it is like now -- your experience (with the waning excitement during the taste tests) mirrors mine a lot.

      1. i, too, do a mixture of beef, pork & veal. I checked out Marcella's recipe and I would use a little tomato paste, some garlic and some fresh thyme. I am not a big fan of nutmeg in my ragu, so I personally would omit that. Also, try butter in place of the oil. I use a recipe from Cook's Illustrated and I enjoy it. But nothing beats a good, hearty wild boar or rabbit bolognese... yum. I can't wait for it to get cold!

        1 Reply
        1. re: lynnlato

          Nutmeg is one of the things that makes it Bolognese.

        2. How lean was the meat that you used?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Megiac

            I was going to ask the same thing, Megiac. Sometimes extra lean ground beef can taste a bit metallic to me and also add very little flavor to a sauce.

          2. I would suggest that the first time you make a recipe, especially a classoc from Marcela, you follow the recipe exactly.

            You might try making your Ragu in a very heavy pot, like le Creuset, to prevent burning and over-evaporation.