A Social Endeavor

Keep it social, friends. Just because you eat like a dinosaur doesn’t mean you can’t have festive dinner parties, lovely dates, or day-long kitchen parties wherein everyone leaves with enough meat sauce to serve a small herd of athletes.

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As pre-historic as our eating habits may be, we appreciate the invention of chairs and understand that a “BYOC” dinner party leaves a little something to be desired. In a word, seating. To prepare for the social events of the season, Travis has been hard at work assembling and staining four lovely shaker chairs for our apartment. Willett guards the perimeter, per usual.

Here’s a recipe for a big old batch of meat sauce–a good staple to have on hand and best made when you have a few hours to let the flavor develop.

Indispensable Meat Sauce:

Ingredients:

1/2 large white onion
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
3-4 cloves garlic

Olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano and/or Italian looking spices in your cabinet

1.5-2 lbs ground meat–a blend of beef, lamb and pork would be great here

Big can of tomatoes–I used whole plum tomatoes in sauce, but crushed in sauce or pretty much any other variety would likely work as well

Liquid, as needed–I used chicken stock because I had it on hand… Can’t hurt!

Make it:

1. Chop your veggies. As I learned, keep them small unless you want to encounter big hunks of carrot. 1/4″ dice would probably suffice.

2. Heat up a big heavy pot over medium or medium low, depending in how hot your stove gets.

3. Add a generous glug of olive oil and add the veggies. Stir them around periodically for about 10 minutes. You want them to soften but not brown. Season as you go from here on out with salt, pepper, and anything Italian looking.

4. Turn up the heat a bit (medium or medium high) and add the meat, stirring to break it up into little bits. Again, you want it to get brown (ie cooked) but not browned (ie crunchy outer layer).

5. Once the meat is brown, add your tomatoes–sauce and all. If you went with whole tomatoes, they’ll break up naturally as it cooks but you can help them along with some aggressive spooning.

6. You should have enough liquid from the tomatoes to get things going to a nice simmer. Turn the heat down (low, pronably) to maintain it without getting too much towards a boil. Periodic blorps of sauce bubble is the right audio/visual…

7. Let this happen for as long as you can. Mine was best after I believe 2 hours or so. Taste every so often to guage progress and adjust seasoning. You may need to add liquid to keep the blorp alive–use whatever makes sense.

So go on, call your friends. Spend your bar money on some nice meat and throw yourself a little party. Everybody loves parties.

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