Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweet Potato Linguine with Bolognese Sauce from The Paleo Approach Cookbook

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  While all the other food blogs in the world are treating you with ways to make your Thanksgiving dinner that much better, I will offer something entirely different! Rebel!  This week, I'll get back to the Paleo Approach Cookbook.  

I must admit that it was the pretty picture of this recipe for Sarah Ballantyne's Sweet Potato Linguine with Bolognese Sauce that made my decision to give it a try.  As I am just one person, I decided to make a half batch.  Well, I should have just made a whole batch as I made a huge measurement error when I made this the first time and for the sake of doing a fair review, I had to make it a second time. 

When I made it the second time, I made sure to write out the amounts so I wouldn't go on autopilot again.  

I started by chopping up the vegetables and adding them to my 5.5 quart dutch oven to sauté  in some Fatworks Tallow.

Next, Sarah gives a few options for pork to add.  I used Canadian bacon because I had some on hand already.  

Next up, I added the ground beef.  Per Sarah's instructions, I added it in small batches.    Once brown, I added the wine and stirred to get some of the fond off the bottom of the pan.  

And then it was time for the pastes.  On the left is the Umeboshi Paste and on the right is the Tamarind Paste.  They both have pretty pungent aromas, not bad, but pungent.  

I added the pastes and coconut milk to the pot and gave the sauce a good stir.  By the way, this is where I made my error in my first batch.  I added the full amounts of the pastes instead of half amounts.  I knew right after I added it and have no explanation other than I wasn't thinking.   Of course, if you are making a full batch, you'll not risk this problem.  If you're making a half batch at this happens, don't throw it out.  It can be fixed.  I'll detail how at the end of the review.  

Here's the sauce before simmering.  

Once the sauce was simmering away, I cut up the sweet potato so it would be ready to go when the sauce was ready.  Be very careful slicing the noodles.  

I tried to cut them as thinly and evenly as I could without losing any fingers.  

When the Bolognese Sauce was nearly finished, I made a serving of the sweet potato linguine using some olive oil.  Sarah calls for coconut oil, but I figured olive oil would work just as well.  Why?  Well, I just cracked open a big tin of Kasandrino's olive oil and I had to use it.  

After hours of simmering on the stove, here is what I had.  I checked it when there was about thirty minutes to go and added a little bit of water as it was looking a bit too thick.  From the picture in the book, it's not a watery sauce, so don't add too much.

The last step is to add some nutritional yeast.  I opted to add a little sprinkle to each serving individually rather than put it in the entire pot.  

Here is my plate with the sweet potato noodles.  

My second go around making the recipe, I already had some roasted cubed sweet potato ready, so I used it instead of the linguine. 

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  There are a few ingredients in this recipe that you'll have to either order online or find at a specialty market.  

Umeboshi Paste may be hard to find.  I read that as it is a Japanese condiment, you could find it at Asian markets.  Well, I went to my local Asian market and here is the aisle of pastes and sauces.  The majority of them have no English writing on them that is highly visible.  After scouring aisle for a while, I found an employee to ask and they said they didn't carry it.  I asked Sarah about Umeboshi paste and she said that she either gets it at Whole Foods or orders it through Amazon.  I bought some at Whole Foods for $9.99 for a 7.05 ounce package.  Ouch.

My trip to this market was not wasted, as this is where I get Tamarind Paste ($1.99/ jar), another ingredient that likely wont be at your "big box" store.  

The recipe also calls for nutritional yeast.  I bought some from the bulk section at Whole Foods as the recipe doesn't call for much of it.  You should be able to find the rest of the ingredients fairly inexpensively at your "big box" grocery store. 

Preparation & Cooking Time:  You'd think in making this two times through, I'd have gotten a good time on prep and cooking, but my notes are failing me.  Sarah's stated preparation and cooking times are just about right, 30 minutes prep and 4.5 hours of cooking.  I can say it took me 11 minutes to slice the sweet potatoes into linguine and 10 minutes to cook them.   

Clean Up:  I had to apply a little elbow grease to my dutch oven, but otherwise, nothing remarkable or hard about the clean up.

The Paleo Review:  Moderate Thumbs Up!  With winter around the corner, this is a great recipe to warm up to.  The flavor is beefy yet a little fruity and sweet.  The fruitiness obviously comes from the fruit pastes.  The sweet potato actually balances out some of the fruity/sweetness.  It was a little salty, so if you tend to not like a lot of salt you may want to ease back on the amount you add in the recipe which isn't much.  

The sweet potato linguine will become a new standard dish in my kitchen.  I appreciated the change in texture.  I had quite a few servings of raw sweet potato to make.  One evening, I was roasting some other vegetables, and decided to give roasting the sweet potato linguine on a baking sheet with a little fat. This worked out well.  You'll need to keep a close eye on them as they are thin so they don't burn. 

If you're looking for an AIP Bolognese Sauce, grab a copy of Sarah's The Paleo Approach Cookbook and give this one a try.  

How did I fix the first batch?  After realizing I had just added the full batch measurements of both of the pastes, my first thought was to throw it out, but decided that Sarah wouldn't do that.  After hearing her talk about her trial and error cooking process at her book signing and that she doesn't typically use a recipe, I decided to take a chance at fixing it.  I essentially added the second half of all of the liquid ingredients.  I simmered this as the recipe directed and unlike my finished picture above, naturally, it looked more soupy, so I strained the meat and veggies out of the excess sauce.  Now having made it a second time without making the mistake, I must say, my fix was perfect as they tasted pretty much the same.  

Keep this in mind the next time you have a disaster.  Take two seconds before throwing out a pot of food to see if there's something you can do to fix it.  If it doesn't work, at least you tried.  

If you're really disappointed that this isn't a Thanksgiving post, if I were going to cook for Thanksgiving, I'd make this turkey breast again.  It is the best I've ever had. 

Cavegirl Couture Sale Reminder:  Use the coupon code FALLCOOKING to get $10 off your purchase of $35 or more through the end of the year.  

Sources/Affiliate Disclosure-  I received a review copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook from its publisher and Fatworks provided me with a sample jar of its Tallow; however, all of my opinions expressed here are my own.  I own and make all of the products at Cavegirl Couture.  This post contains affiliate links for which the blog earns a small commission if you purchase items through those links.