As the winter weather continues, this classic family dish is often a firm favourite; hearty, warming and perfect to make in advance. It is also a fabulous base to “hide” as many vegetables as you can get away with, ensuring a nutrient rich meal. This bolognese uses Fennel, which you may not have considered using in a ragu, but I urge you to give it a go! It’s subtle aniseed flavour works really well.
What’ll you need…
- 500g Beef (preferably Organic) mince
- 1 large Fennel bulb, finely chopped (shredded, then diced)
- 2 large Onions, finely diced
- Olive oil
- 4 large cloves Garlic, crushed
- ! tablespoon Fennel seeds
- 2 large Carrots, grated
- 1 large Courgette, grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked Paprika (optional)
- 30g flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 50g Red Lentils
- 2-3 pinches chilli flakes
- Sea Salt/Ground Pepper to season
Fry the onions, diced fennel, garlic and fennel seeds in a little olive over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened
Add the beef and continue to fry until browned
Add the carrots, courgettes and all remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Bring to the boil, reduce to the lowest heat and allow to simmer with the lid on, for approximately 1½ hours, stirring occasionally until you have a thick, rich sauce.
A food processor or Thermomix machine is ideal to finely chop all the fresh vegetables and fresh herbs.
Make a double batch and freeze half for a nutritious ready meal when you’re pressed for time or simply want a day off from the kitchen!
Adding Fennel to your meals not only enhances the flavour but also provides a good nutrition boost, including the antioxidant vitamins A and C and plenty of fibre. The bulb as well as the long stalks, leaves and seeds are edible and have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is rich in essential oils that help relax the stomach and stimulate the digestive system; helping to relieve digestive symptoms such as wind and bloating which can cause discomfort. CLICK HERE for more about the health benefits of this vegetable.
May Simpkin is a BANT registered Nutritional Therapist with a Masters Science degree in Personalised Nutrition. She is an experienced clinician and Head of Wellbeing at Grace Belgravia, London., as well as Chair of the Continual Professional Committee at BANT, the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy . She is also registered with IFM, The Institute for Functional Medicine and a member of the RSM, The Royal Society of Medicine.
For more recipes visit: www.maysimpkin.com