A flavour-packed Tequila bolognese


A flavour-packed tequila bolognese recipe with pork and beef mince, fresh herbs, fennel, tomatoes and garlic.

Inspired by a friend of mine in the blogging world I made this tequila bolognese recipe. Her version involves bigger quantities and included lamb mince which I think would add a very nice depth to the dish. I scaled things down a bit and only used pork and beef mince.

Now in terms of tequila, I have recently, after much exposure to some fantastic top-quality tipple, fallen in love with it.  I have to admit that I quaffed so much of the stuff in my late teens, that it kind of put more off for the better part of the next two decades, and I reserved the drinking occasion strictly to BIG parties (with extensive dancing) nights.

That has all changed now that I drink the good stuff, and frequently find myself ordering a tequila and sipping it.  I am still trying to educate friends who find the notion of sipping tequila quite foreign, and continuously prompt me to shoot it back. 

I love the recently launched Patron Silver, so decided to use this in my dish.

The flavour of tequila has also opened up a floodgate of ideas for me when applied to food.  So watch this space, because along with my deep passion for Mexican cuisine, I’m going to be playing around with it as a key ingredient in my cooking.

So when I saw Jaclyn’s recipe, I got excited.

What you need to make this:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 cup of good quality tequila – I used Patron Silver
  • 500g lean organic beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 4 rashers of good quality dry cured streak bacon or pancetta (about 100gms)
  • a small handful of fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup fennel bulb, chopped (you could use celery if fennel bulb is not available), and a small tuft of the frilly leaves
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme – leaves removed
  • a small handful of Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs of tomato paste
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 350ml of lamb stock (I used Nomu lamb fond)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I always use smoked salt)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic reduction to stir into the sauce which adds a nice sweetness
  • and about another 2 Tbs to add at the end

How to make this:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pot and fry the onion and bacon until soft – about 8 minutes
  • In a separate pan fry the meat in batches until brown and set aside
  • add the fennel, carrot and garlic and cook for a few minutes
  • add half a cup (half of) the tequila and allow the liquid to evarpourate off (this happens quickly)
  • add the browned meat, the other half a cup of tequila, the tomato paste, herbs, balsamic and the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes
  • add the tin of tomatoes and stock and bring it to a boil
  • reduce to a very slow simmer and let it cook slowly like this for 3 – 4 hours
  • adjust the seasoning and add the balsamic reduction

Serve this overcooked pasta like tagliatelle or linguine with a generous grating of Parmesan or Pecorino.

The tequila adds a beautiful depth to the dish and the long slow cooking develops the flavours. This is the way I’m going to be making bolognese from here on out.

slurp it all up and wear a bib


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  1. I can vouch for the deliciousness of this dish and will be making it on my own steam again!

  2. It looks gorgeous Sam! So glad you tried it out & had so much fun with it. I really like the twists you made to it, too.

  3. Thanks Jacs, what an amazing recipe and I simply loved the flavour.

  4. Lori, I had it again last night for supper, and stirred a few chunks of fresh avo into it. So yum!

  5. Hi Ilse
    It seems like a lot, but most of the liquid cooks off and you are left with all the flavour.

  6. I live with world’s number 1 pasta lover, especially if in a tomato based sauce. I’m going to give J this recipe to try! Thanks Sam and Jax x

  7. My family is going to love this!! Beautiful plate and pic!

  8. Hi Sam!
    The ingredients say 1 cup of tequila but the directions only calls for half a cup? Must I drink the other half? 😛

  9. And here I thought I was the only one that liked sipping tequila – room temperature tequila at that too 🙂

    As for the lemon and salt… hold the garnish thanks.

  10. Ish, I am sure J will ove the tequila part too.

  11. Robert, sipping (good) tequila is fab. We need to educate the rest 🙂

  12. Ilse, Ja one cup goes in in total, half a cup to deglaze the pan (onions etc) and hte other half goes in just after adding the meat. Cook off a bit, then add the toms and the stock.

  13. Hi Cait, add half the cup after frying the onions etc, and the other half goes in just after t he meat is added.

  14. Thanks hun, its one of my new Wonki ware plates (cant get enough of it)

  15. Carlette, you really do need the time, but overall the effort is fairly minimal.

  16. Sam, that we do… but I’m a bit of a pleb and not that picky over the tequila. 🙂

  17. Ok Robert, but once you get into the good stuff I think you will battle to go back to the ‘other’ stuff :-).

  18. karien buter says:

    Hiya Sam – i made the tequila bolognaise for fathers day yesterday and it was superb. The only other bolognaise recipe that is in this class is Marzelle Hazans one – i love the deep taste of the tequila and the balsamic reduction. Fabulous. I send the link of your blog on to friends in canada who also tried the hake in foil and loved it.
    I am so happy to have found this blog.

    Thank you

  19. Hi Karien, Thank you so much for your lovely comment you have literally made my day. When I came across this recipe that my friend had made I knew immediately it would be a winner.

    I have a book by Marcella Hazan (Marcella Says) which I inherited but have never worked through, so thanks for inspiring me to do so, as I know she is a renowned cook book author and Italian cook.


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