Cyprus has this habit of turning into a new season virtually overnight. You wake up one day and you just know that you will no longer be needing your sweaters or closed shoes. That day for me was earlier this week. I didn’t celebrate it by dusting off the barbecue (I plan to do that on Monday with friends … and then watch Game of Thrones together, weeeeee).
I did try to go and buy a new bikini bottom, but did not succeed. I face planted into a peanut-butter ice cream cone instead. Whoops. Anyway, this week, I made this hearty chicken bolognese-type sauce. I am a firm believer that there are some dishes – heavy or not – that are still delicious enjoyed in the middle of summer or winter.
Bolognese sauce is a comfort food for me, and one I indulge in quite happily no matter what the weather is doing around me. Having said that, I guess it’s not technically bolognese as I didn’t use beef. I find it really difficult to find good quality beef in Cyprus. The time that I tried to buy organic, the meat was tasty but it set me back a small fortune. My boyfriend teases me that I essentially am a closet-vegetarian which is not true because I still eat meat and fish and enjoy eating meat and fish, but perhaps true according to the “very-Cypriot-man” diet I seem to observe around here where if you eat meat less than 3 times a week you are considered vegetarian. Humph.
This meal is a good compromise for us both. It has meat in it, and I like the minced meat because it is organic. I buy this organic chicken mince from The Etherio Bio Shop in Limassol across from the Debenhams in the center of town. It cost me about 5 euros for 400 grams, which is still on the pricey side, but I am willing to pay it because I like it. The sauce is a little bit more elaborate than a simple bolognese but one that is still very doable if in a rush.
You can, of course, let the sauce simmer for quite a long time, but I wanted this done in an hour. I wouldn’t say there are any tips to this sauce. I do always add two small pinches of sugar to any tomato sauce I make, and the butter definitely gives it a welcome smoothness. I enjoy most of my pasta sauces with fusilli, and in particular, I served the sauce on top of some tricolore fusilli because I enjoy the subtle flavours of spinach and tomato flavours that come through in Tricolore Fusilli. This is all making me very hungry, so I think I will go warm some leftovers up for lunch now! Enjoy! And see you on the beach — if I can find a bikini bottom!
CYPRUS FOODIE TIP: For fresh organic chicken mince every Tuesday, and frozen organic chicken mince all the time check out: Etherio Bio Shop in Limassol: 23 Petrou Tsirou, Shop 4-5. Contact Phone Number: +357 25736073
400 g organic chicken mince
1 tbs salted butter
1/2 large onion, diced
9 g dried porcini mushrooms left to soften in 1/3 cup boiling water
1 large garlic, diced
2 small celery sticks, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 small bay leaves
1 tsp of dried oregano
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large tsps Tomato Paste
3-4 tbs red wine
400 grams Chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
3-4 tbs cream
1 tsp red vinegar
1 package Tricolore Fusilli
1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil on high heat on the stove. Fry the chicken mince until it is cooked. Add salt & pepper to taste, but add a little less salt than is needed so that you can add more later if necessary. Add the butter and stir until it has melted.
2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, cherry tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano and porcini mushrooms (minus the water). Stir fry for about five minutes until softened. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little of the tomato sauce from the canned tomatoes.
3. Add in the tomato paste and continue to fry for about 3 minutes.
4. Add in the porcini water, mix it around and fry until it the porcini water liquid evaporates.
5. Add in the red wine, mix it around and fry until the red wine liquid evaporates.
6. Add in the canned tomatoes and turn the heat down so that the sauce lightly simmers. Add the sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce begins to thicken.
7. Add the cream and stir until incorporated. Then add the vinegar and stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper if needed.
8. Serve over top boiled tricolore fusilli. Enjoy!