Recipe: Slow cooked ragu

Not much creativity this week I'm afraid, and if you have tried/read the slow cooked beef recipe then you will notice quite a few similarities between the two.  The end result is quite different, but both share the rich, sticky reduced quality of slow cooking, possibly this one even more so on account of the addition of tomatoes to the recipe.

Before hitting the shops yesterday, I was planning to use diced lamb - partly for the flavour, but also because I was planning on flaking/forking the meat after slow cooking so it would disperse in the sauce more. But no joy - they didn't have diced lamb in the supermarket (elder boy was with me, so couldn't pop to the other shop as he was getting bored by this point).  I was also planning to serve with pappardelle  but was also out of luck on that front, so went with fresh tagliatelle (but can be served with anything really!)


  • 500g diced beef (or lamb)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • flour
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 100ml red wine 
  • parmesan (optional)
  • a splash of cream/milk
  • salt & pepper for seasoning


Open meat and salt generously before hand. Preheat oven to about 150 degrees.
  1. heat the butter in a pan, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery. As before, slowly cook those over a medium-high heat until soft and slightly browned

  2. Add the beef to the pan and brown. Then remove meat (I just stick the meat in the casserole dish for later)

  3. Add the tomato puree, oregano to the pan and cook for a minute or so. The oregano and tomato puree will have made the vegetable base fairly thick already, but sprinkle a little flour to really bring it all together

  4. Add the tinned tomatos, 200ml cold water & red wine to the pan and reduce until it starts to thicken (probably around 5-10mins

  5. Pour the tomato sauce base into the casserole dish (assuming your beef is already in there), and stir through. Then top up with boiling water, so all the meat is submerged

  6. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, stirring every hour or so.

  7. By about three hours it will probably be reduced to a fairly thick, tomato goo (in a good way) - if it is reduced too soon, then just top up with boiling water from the kettle.

  8. Add a handful of grated parmesan (if using) and then add a splash of cream/milk - this will just bind the sauce together and off set the acidity/decadence of the tomato/wine sauce!

  9. Serve and eat. With more cheese probably. And bread. And Pasta. Whatever..

rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

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