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Meat Sauce

  • Yield: About 1 1/2 quarts


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 strips bacon, diced
  • 1/4 pound boiled ham, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal or ground pork (or 1/4 pound of each)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 pound white button mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock or
  • canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 chicken livers, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • Melt the butter in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and ham and cook, stirring often, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground meats and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg, and cloves, and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Add the chicken livers, if using, and cook until firm, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and parsley. Heat through and adjust the seasoning to taste. Use hot.