Slow cooking this bolognese recipe really helps to infuse all the flavours of the tomatoes and the beef making the most delicious bolognese sauce with a full 2 portions of vegetables per serving.
- 2kg Beef Mince £5.96
- 1kg Bacon £3.49
- 1kg Carrots 52p
- 1kg Onions 50p
- 1kg Mushrooms £1.40
- 3 Tins Chopped Tomatoes 84p
- 1 Bulb Garlic 16p
- Tomato Puree 27p
- Beef Stock Cubes 12p
- Worcestershire Sauce 65p
Total Cost = £13.26
Makes 27 servings = 49p per serving
Food purchased from Aldi, UK
How to Make Slow Cooker Bolognese
Start by mincing the garlic bulb. I use a food processor to make this super quick and easy.
Then dice the onions, again I use the food processor but you can do it by hand, it just takes a little longer,
Fry them up in a big frying pan with high sides so you can fit everything in.
Once the onions and garlic are soft pop them in the slow cooker.
Fry the mince in the same pan – no need to make extra washing up.
Once that’s started to brown add it to the slow cooker.
Then peel and grate the carrot. I got a food processor mostly for this job, I used to do it with a cheese grater and it took AGES.
Add three beef stock cubes.
And a tube of tomato puree.
Then three tins of chopped tomatoes. If you wanted to reduce the cost of this recipe you can add extra tins.
Then add a small bottle of Worcestershire sauce. You can make this bolognese recipe without the Worcestershire sauce but I highly recommend adding it as it brings a whole new dimension to the flavour of the recipe.
Set the slow cooker to low and leave it for about 6 hours.
Cut the bacon into little chunks and fry them.
Add the bacon bits to the bolognese mixture.
I’ve found the flavour of the bacon really shines if you fry it separately and add it into the mix at the end of the cooking time instead of slow cooking the bacon.
The same goes for the mushrooms, dice and fry them separately.
This not only helps to preserve the flavour but it also helps to fit this massive recipe into a large slow cooker. If you tried to cook all the ingredients at once in the slow cooker it would overflow and that can damage your slow cooker, not to mention make a right mess. Cooking the bacon and mushrooms separately means you can mix them with the bolognese after cooking so that you can remove some of the mixture if it’s about to overflow.
Traditionally this recipe is eaten with spaghetti of course but I tend to serve it with smaller pastas as I find they make less mess and are easier to cook in a smaller pan.
And of course it needs to be served with a sprinkling of cheese!
How to Stretch Your Budget EVEN Further!
If you’re on a super tight budget you can skip the Worcestershire sauce. It’s still a perfectly nice dish without the Worcestershire sauce but oh my word the sauce takes it to a whole other level of deliciousness.
You could also skip the bacon and mushrooms but this would reduce the number of portion sizes so it might actually increase the cost per portion.
Frozen mince is usually quite a lot cheaper than the fresh mince I’ve used. However it does tend to contain more water than fresh mince, so your meal won’t be as hearty. I find it tends to disintegrate during cooking leaving an unpleasant texture. I also find that the cheapest frozen mince often has an unpleasant aftertaste. So personally I always buy fresh mince if I can. There have been times in my life when I have had to resort to buying the cheaper frozen mince and the dish is still perfectly edible, nice even just nothing like as nice as when made with fresh mince.
To keep the cost of my meat down I buy the full fat mince. For starters it’s cheaper than the reduced fat versions. It also saves you even more because you don’t need to use extra oil for frying. The animal fat that’s naturally in the meat is much, much better for you than the cheap vegetable oil used for frying lower fat mince.
It is perfectly possible to make this Slow Cooker Bolognese Recipe with the most basic kitchen equipment, a sharp knife, chopping board and a big pan. Cook it on the hob over a low heat for at least two hours. You’ll need to stir it frequently to stop it burning to the bottom of the pan. It’s much easier in a slow cooker where you can just throw in the ingredients then ignore it all day. I got my first slow cooker at a second hand shop, there are often second hand slow cookers in very good condition readily availible, so it doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money to invest in one.
Likewise this Slow Cooker Bolognese Recipe can be made without the use of a food processor. In fact I’ve been making this recipe for about 20 years and I’ve only had a food processor for the last two years. It does take me about an hour less thanks to my food processor, so I’d definitely recommend using one if you can. Like most of my kitchen gadgets, mine was second hand. I think it’s actually about as old as I am!
I do hope you have enjoyed having a peak at my latest recipe.
Please feel free to use my handmade crafts and recipes to inspire your own creations, pin it to your Pinterest for later.
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A Little Bit About Me . . .
Thank you so much for stopping by my corner little of the interweb. I’m Bridie, mum to two small humans, full time homemaker and full time craftaholic – which totally explains why I’m always short on time!
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