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Hazan's bolognese made with lamb...Is it heresy?

Here's the deal, I want to make Hazan's bolognese, but my wife has a problem with beef (physical, not ethical) so the question becomes, can I substitute the lamb for the beef, and if so, what changes do I have to make. I've seen lamb bolognese recipes, but I'd like to stick with Hazan's if possible. Thanks in advance.

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    1. Lamb is more typical of Abruzzi or Molise than Emiglia for a ragu meat. I love lamb in a sauce, but if you want to tasta Marcella's recipe, it's not a good substitution (basically, with Marcella, there are no substitutions...because she's Marcella).

      Can your wife do bison? It would give you some of the depth of flavor beef provides but without the distinctive flavor profile of lamb (ground bison is a bit mushy compared to beef, but in a rich sauce it's less noticeable).

      Pork adds sweetness, and veal helps a meat sauce glaze food due to its high collagen content.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S

        I search for 'lamb ragu' and found this from Food & Wine:

        and this
        and another chow thread
        and via another chow thread, a NYT article with beef, lamb and pork versions. It may be a good way of comparing what works with each meat
        note the lamb in this case uses rosemary and thyme - and no milk.

        Why no milk in a lamb ragu? Or may be the question should be - why milk in the beef version?

      2. Thanks all-
        I chose lamb because it's a meat that we all like (and the one I like best). I had chosen the recipe from the NY Times and will stick with that. I will try the pork next. As for bison, I like the flavor as a steak and as a burger. Don't know what kind of effect it'll have on her, but there's only one way to find out. As for veal, I must admit that I've enver had a piece of veal that had a truly distinct flavor. Don't know if it was the quality of meat or that veal has a very subtle flavor.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jnk

          Veal is not there for the flavor but for incomparable texture/succulence.

        2. You'll end out with a different sauce if you substitute lamb, but since it sounds like the original isn't a possibility, go ahead. Although I think goat would go better in that sauce than lamb.

          1. jfood loves lamb ragu (add rabbit and venizon to that list as well).

            Would the output be the same as the original Hazan, nope. But it might be a nice alternative and would love to know how the sauce tasted with lamb.

            1. Well, here's the review of the lamb bolognese from the NY Times: FANTASTIC!
              This has got to be the richest sauce (including cream sauces) that I've had. The depth of flavor, the texture, mouth feel, the smell of it while it was simmering (14 yr old comes into the house and says, "something smells awesome!). Thank goodness there was plenty extra and that I just bought a Foodsaver. Many thanks to MMRUTH who shot me a quick reply on whether or not to get rid of most of the grease. It was an ideal dish, BUT next time I think I'll take the browning of the meat a little futher by draining the grease a little earlier in the process. Here's the recipe along with the one for beef and pork.


              1. I have a pot of Hazan's bolognese on the stove now made as per her recipe, except with ground goat meat (and less butter). It's still about 2 hours away from being done, but it is GREAT.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Marge

                  Can't wait to hear how it comes out.

                  1. re: jnk

                    Came out fabulous with the goat meat. I served it with papardelle (and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano).

                2. frankly, i think the lamb sounds terrific! It's a great recipe and i think the flavor of the lamb would work really well.