I’m a huge fan of cross over meals. It’s a wonderful way to cook with grace and economy. During a fabulous chitty chatty on Facebook about how to cut costs to build a beautiful life, the thing that came up over and over again was using one meal to lead to another. A basic example is using bolognese to make shepherds pie.
A few people emailed me afterwards to ask if I could share a bit more about how I make it work in our family. So, I’ve started at the birthplace of so many cross over meals, the bulk bolognese recipe. There are 1000s of ways to do this, but below is our version.
The idea that a beautiful life costs a lot of money is complete BS. While Gordo and I love to splurge sometimes and entertain regularly to share our love of people and food, we also believe great meals needn’t cost a fortune.
All of the top chefs I’ve ever had the privilege of interviewing often use cheaper cuts of meat and humble vegetables to create their masterpieces and they’re pedantic about minimsing food waste, because they know how it cuts into their bottom line and our food security and that kind of passion is contagious.
In the past, I’ve talked about cross over dishes in a throwaway manner. Such as turning this slow cooked beef into a pie or using leftover roast chicken to make a shredded chicken salad. Now, I’ve put my serious pants on. You’ll just have to imagine the belfie, because I don’t own a belfie stick (the selfie stick designed to take photos of the backside).
I want to hear what you do
I really want to bring this conversation to the fore, because we’ve all got lives and need to maximise efficiency in the kitchen, in terms of time, money and waste. Obviously, the most efficient thing to do is cook a giant batch of something and eat it for the next couple of days, but that can get a tad dull, but if we can tweak it just a little bit…
Hence, the start of the Cross Over Series, but the thing that’d make me really happy is to hear how you do it, because there are a million ways to do this thing and the more we share the more we all benefit.
This may not always lead to the ‘proper’ way to cook something, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t yummy and just quietly, when you give food a chance to get to know each other the result is often yummier and why so many leftovers are yummier than the first dish.
I will quickly say, if you feel the need to brush up on your food storage knowledge, in terms of how long things keep in the fridge and freezer, here is a fabulous reminder and food storage post by food scientist Jules Clancy, because it’s pivotal for making this cross over business work.
Oh, and while I’m talking about reading, if you’re passionate about this cross over business, I highly recommend reading Tamar Alder’s, The Everlasting Meal.
This beef and pork bolognese can turn into shepherds’ pie, lasagne, moussaka, cannelloni and so on and so on. There must be 1000s of ways to do this, so it feels a little strange to write it down, but I wanted to set out a step by step process, because who wants to think when it’s just a matter of getting food on the table on a Tuesday night.
- 3 onions, finely diced
- 3 sticks celery, finely diced
- 3 carrots, finely chopped (or grated if I’m in a hurry)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- A lump of ghee or splash of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 kilo/ 2.2 pounds grass fed beef mince
- 1 kilo/2.2 pounds free range pork
- 300 grams/ 0.7 pound bacon, chopped into slivers
- 3 teaspoons corn flour or arrowroot
- 1 cup wine, white or red
- 8 very ripe tomatoes, chopped or 2 cans tinned tomatoes, chopped
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- Fry onion, celery, carrot and garlic in ghee or extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan until soft.
- Add mince and bacon and fry until the mince breaks up into small lumps.
- Add flour by sprinkling over the meat and stir in.
- Add wine and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
- Add tomato, tomato paste and herbs.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45-60 minutes or until sauce is thick, stirring as needed.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- We then divide this into 3 portions ready to turn onto pasta or into shepherd’s pie, moussaka and lasagne. This will give us enough for 3 dinners for 6 people or 4 people with leftovers for lunch. Usually, I’ll freeze 1 or 2 portions.