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overcooked bolognese?

trolley Aug 17, 2010 09:19 AM

i may have overcooked my bolognese sauce or perhaps it's the ground meat i used. is it possible to overcook the sauce until the meat feels like little bits of torn up cardboard?

i assembled the whole thing (mirepoix, tomato paste, brown the meat tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes) then dump it in the slow cooker on high for 4 hrs. this time i cooked it an additional 3 on low b/c i couldn't get home on time and instead of turning it off i asked my husband to turn it low. now the meat it tough but really tiny pieces like torn up cardboard. could it have been the grassfed beef or just overcooking the sauce? has this happened to anyone else?

  1. LindaWhit Aug 17, 2010 09:28 AM

    That's a tough one (no pun intended) but I'm thinking perhaps it was because it was grass-fed beef. I'm more inclined to use a slow cooker for a roast vs. a ground beef dish, and if I was using ground beef, it would be an 85/15 or 80/20 mix.

    1. cassoulady Aug 17, 2010 09:29 AM

      I have never really dont much with a slow cooker. I always make my bolognese in a cast iron dutch oven and let it cook very low about 3.5-4.5 hrs. Your recipe list doesnt include wine or milk. Did you add them. Marcella Hazans bolognese recipe is a favorite of mine and many on the board. Once in the pot, it cooks pretty much unattended for the rest of the time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cassoulady
        k
        katecm Aug 17, 2010 09:36 AM

        I was going to mention the milk thing too. The reason why bolognese meat is so silky smooth is from cooking in the milk or cream. Without it, you did more of a meat sauce - and its toughness was probably then compounded because of your high-quality beef.

        1. re: katecm
          trolley Aug 17, 2010 01:28 PM

          the thing i forgot to emphasize is that i always make this and it comes out silky smooth. i think it may be the crockpot that helps achieve this texture without the milk. i also skip the wine b/c it's for my toddler and no one seems to be sure whether the alcohol really cooks off so i just skip it all around. the thing is i always cook it for 4 hrs in the slowcooker and using 85/15 ground chuck and not grassfed ground.

      2. onceadaylily Aug 17, 2010 11:02 AM

        I've never made my sauce in a crockpot. If I were you, I might transfer it to a pot on the stove and simmer it for an hour or so, to see if the meat starts to break down, and monitor it from there. I've found that meat dishes in my less-than-stellar crockpot need a good bit more cooking time than recipes call for.

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