Saturday, 12 July 2008

Gordon Ramsay let me down!

I've been meaning to try a "proper" ragu recipe for ages, especially with the regular threads that pop about such recipes on a food chat board I visit.

Yesterday I looked through the recipes recommended there and also googled and narrowed it down to two recipe choices:

Gordon Ramsay's Slow-braised ragù Bolognese

fxcuisine's Serious Ragù Bolognese

Although I'd originally wanted to try one that includes milk (which is said to tenderise the meat) I settled on Gordon Ramsay's version because I didn't really want to be left with most of a bottle of dry white wine.

I followed the recipe very carefully (the only ommission being celery which I absolutely detest) and was hopeful it would come out well.

Unfortunately, when it came to the last hour in the oven (during which the instructions are to take it out every 15 minutes and give it a stir), I realised there was no way the liquid was going to reduce, as promised, to a "rich, thick sauce, and very little liquid remaining".

I wacked the heat up for the last 15 minutes but it was still pretty wet with lots of sauce. Fairly thick, at least, but not, I'm sure, as intended.

And the overwhelming flavour was of red wine! I could taste the pancetta and the chicken livers did add depth of flavour and I also liked the step of whizzing down the cooked onions, garlic and carrots and mixing with the passata. But there was far too strong a red wine flavour, reminiscent of a poorly executed boeuf bourguignon.

I don't know if any of my LJ friends are big ragu fans and have any experience of recipes like either of the ones above or perhaps their own special recipe to share? Also, if you have any thoughts on why it didn't come out well, please let me know. Ta

PS I couldn't leave it for longer to reduce further as it was already a bit late for dinner and Pete wasn't feeling well and needed an early night.

PPS I have more than half leftover which I've popped into the freezer. When I get it back out I'll reduce it down further. If it still tastes too much of red wine I'll maybe throw in some stock or tomatoes or creme fraiche or something!!!


Mamta said...

No point wasting good potatoes, tomatoes or creme fraiche etc. in a bad dish. If not nice, be brave and chuck the whole thing out. It is better in the bin!

Kavey said...

You are so right!

Anonymous said...

It's not a bad dish Mamta, and Gordon didn't let you down Kavey, i think you did it wrong! You're not meant to cook it in the oven for the last hour (just the first two) rather, cook it on the hob (uncovered) for the last hour to reduce it down. it's the best bolognese I've ever tasted personally, and i make it all the time. My friends and family also rate it very highly! but yes it is a full red wine tasting sauce - which is why i like it so much. You should add celery next time, it makes the sauce better - you can't really taste them anyway! and the herbs and star anise are essential too.

Kavey said...

I followed the instructions to the letter, I didn't change the ingredients, ratios, cooking methods or cooking times.

It was only when it became clear the stated cooking times would leave me with a liquidy mess that I tried to adjust and make something edible from what I had.

This recipe was published in the Times newspaper and perhaps the version you cook is one he's since refined/ corrected and published elsewhere.

Sorry, but this was so far from edible that it wasn't even funny.

Incidentally, when I went back to those frozen portions, I was unable to do anything that made the ragu more palatable and actually threw it away!