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When I first started bulk cooking, the very first dish I made was bolognese. It’s incredibly versatile, once you look beyond the classic (but best way to serve, in my opinion) spaghetti bolognese. It can top a jacket potato, fill a calzone pizza, or transform a humble burger bun into a Sloppy Joe. My bolognese on a budget is an easy take on a meal that everyone will love.
This recipe will prep ten portions in two and a half hours (with one hour of prep and an hour and a half to leave to simmer while you put your feet up!). The ingredients I have used are supermarket own branded items, to make this a budget-friendly bolognese. The total cost to make this recipe is £11.07, therefore each portion comes in at £1.10. Bolognese on a budget, here we come!
The recipe is coming up, and you can also scroll down to download the recipe card.
Ingredients-Makes 10 Portions
1 kilo of carrots, grated
2 large onions, chopped
1 kilo of 5% fat beef mince
100g smoked bacon, finely sliced
200g fresh chopped tomatoes
50g minced garlic
2 chicken stock cubes, made up with 600mls boiling water
5 tins of chopped tomatoes (I can highly recommend Asda value brand, which are about 30p per tin!)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
Half a teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste, plus a few sprays of spray oil
Spray a heated pot with some oil, and add the beef mince. Cook the mince until brown, then transfer it to a colander to drain any excess liquid from the mince.
Using the pot that the mince was cooked in, start building up the base for your bolognese on a medium heat. Fry the onions until they are soft, then add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add in the bacon and cook until the bacon is heated through. Then add the mushrooms and cook the mixture for a few minutes more.
Add the carrots and fresh tomatoes and cook for around 5 minutes, until the carrots are starting to wilt down. Then add the beef mince and stir while the mixture is cooking to fully incorporate all of the ingredients.
After a few minutes, add the tinned tomatoes, chicken stock and dried basil and oregano. Simmer uncovered on a medium heat for between an hour and an hour and a half, until the excess liquid in the sauce evaporates and you are left with a chunky, thick sauce. Stir through the sugar, and salt and pepper. Remember to taste the sauce as you do, adding a little seasoning at a time until you are happy with it 🙂
Ladle the sauce into storage containers when cooked. The ones I use are linked here, which are freezer, microwave and dishwasher friendly. I love the handy plastic lids that allow me to stack them in the freezer without making a dent in the stack (learned this one the hard way!).
And your have just prepped a budget bolognese! How you serve it is up to you. My favourite way to serve is on top of a bowl of spaghetti. To get an extra veg hit, add some frozen spinach to the pasta while it cooks.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any weird and wonderful serving suggestions for a bolognese 🙂