Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
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With tender beef, rich sauce, and minimal effort required, this dish is sure to become a family favorite.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into large pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (1 large can)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (1 can)
  • 1 pound cooked pasta (pappardelle recommended)
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional, for serving
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Sear the beef for a few minutes on each side to create a brown crust. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 5-6 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  6. Pour the mixture into a slow cooker.
  7. Add the dried thyme, dried rosemary, bay leaves, red wine, beef broth, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste to the slow cooker. Stir well to combine.
  8. Add the seared beef to the slow cooker.
  9. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 6-10 hours, until the beef can be easily shredded with a fork.
  10. Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef directly in the slow cooker.
  11. Serve the beef ragu over cooked pasta.
  12. Optionally, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

Tips and Tricks

  • For added depth of flavor, try browning the beef in batches before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Don’t skip the wine! It adds a rich complexity to the sauce that you won’t want to miss.
  • Leftovers taste even better the next day, so don’t hesitate to make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week.

Variations

  • Swap out the beef for lamb or pork for a different flavor profile.
  • Add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a tangy twist.
  • Stir in a handful of fresh herbs like basil or oregano for a burst of freshness.
  • For a spicy kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  • Experiment with different types of pasta, such as rigatoni or spaghetti, to change up the texture.
  • Incorporate diced bell peppers or mushrooms for added vegetables and flavor.
  • For a creamy twist, stir in a dollop of mascarpone or cream cheese before serving.
  • Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and ensuring all other ingredients are certified gluten-free.
  • Try using different types of wine, such as white wine or rosé, for a unique flavor profile.
  • Add a can of drained and rinsed beans, such as cannellini or kidney beans, for extra protein and texture.

What to Serve It With

  • Crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.
  • Garlic breadsticks for dipping.
  • A simple green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Roasted vegetables, such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
  • Creamy mashed potatoes for a comforting side.
  • Steamed rice for a lighter option.
  • Crisp, chilled coleslaw for a refreshing contrast.
  • Garlic mashed cauliflower for a low-carb alternative.
  • Grilled corn on the cob for a summery twist.
  • Buttered noodles for a classic pairing.

 

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