As promised, my next recipe is for something savory: Sunday ragu. When I started working full time I was so excited about weekends – they were going to be jam packed full of exercise, catching up with friends (cocktails!), movies, going to the beach and barely sitting down. Now that I’m a few weeks in, weekends are not like I envisaged. Don’t get me wrong – I love (love!) weekends but they’re not frantic in the way I expected. Honestly, by the time Friday rolls around, I’m so exhausted I need down time. I can’t hack the frantic. I started declining all invitations for Sunday afternoon until I realised it’s become something of a “thing”. And so now Sunday afternoons are for me, for doing nothing. I find really savouring this time to relax and be alone puts me in the right place to head back to work on Monday. I feel refreshed and excited and that I really used my weekend wisely.
This is a very long winded way of saying that Sunday afternoon is a great time to make ragu. My housemate is from a big Italian family and when she moved in her mum loaded up our freezer with her home made ragu. It’s been perfect for Tuesday nights when you get home late and don’t want to wait for totally average, greasy take away. But last week we ran out of ragu and so I decided to cook some up. I popped it in the slow cooker at about 11 on Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day doing nothing. It’s very hard to take a pretty picture of ragu but I will say it makes for the perfect Sunday night in…
1 kg stew beef, diced into 2 cm pieces
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
6 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 cups red wine
3 tins chopped tomatoes
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan or pot (something like a Le Creuset). Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Make sure the pan isn’t overcrowded. You may need to do this in two batches. Brown the lamb. This will take 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat if necessary.
2. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add another tablespoon of oil, followed by the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly golden (10-15 minutes).
3. Add the garlic, chilli and herbs and stir for a minute or until fragrant. Add the wine to the pan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down slightly and allow the wine to burn off for a few minutes. Return the meat to the pan with the tinned tomatoes. Stir to combine and transfer to a slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and walk away! I left my ragu simmering for about 8 hours but I imagine it would be good to go at about the 6 hour mark.
4. Just before serving, flake the meat with a fork. Serve ragu over pasta with plenty of parmesan and a green salad on the side. Stash leftovers in the freezer.
- There is quite a lot of wine in this recipe. It could easily be replaced with some more tinned tomatoes or beef stock if you’d like to reduce the amount.