Updated: Jun 18, 2018
This recipe is hearty and full of flavour - just perfect for wet and rainy winter days! The traditional way to make a ragu would be with mince beef, which is beautiful, but I also use this ragu recipe as the basis for a lamb stew which I serve with mashed potatoes and green veg. It's dense and full of intense flavours.
I'm going to explain the lamb stew version because that's what's shown in pictures below and I'll also explain how to turn this into a fabulous pasta ragu (which is better than a spag bol - more intense as I use red wine and no tomatoes).
Last night we slow cooked a shoulder of lamb for 8 hours, which was to die for. We had tons left over, so I decided there was nothing else for it other than a lamb stew. Here's the lamb from last night's dinner...for 3 people you can imagine we had more than enough to make a stew today. Cold lamb is horrible the next day, but in a stew it's lovely!
This recipe is very easy and very quick to prepare but you do need a couple of hours cooking time. You need just a few ingredients.
Serves 3 greedy people (like us) or 4 normal people (like everyone else)!!
2 x carrots, finely chopped into little cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
150g cubed pancetta
The traditional recipe would be to use 400g minced beef. This would make a ragu sauce which you'd add to pasta. But, as my pictures show, I like to make a lamb stew using left over meat from roast lamb shoulder cooked the night before. In this case we bought a 2.16 kilogram piece of lamb and fed 3 people 2/3 servings and then I used the left overs (about a dinner plate full of meat) to add to the ragu sauce, which is what you see in the pictures.
200ml red wine
1.5 tbsp tomato puree
200ml stock - I use my own homemade chicken broth/stock, though beef stock would be more appropriate I suppose. It'll taste delicious either way and if you're not intolerant to gluten or yeast and want to use a stock cube, then I always used to use Marigold Swiss Bouillon
100ml almond milk (optional)
Heat olive oil in pan, add onion, carrot and pancetta and sweat for 10 mins
Add the meat and brown all over if you're using raw beef mince. If you're doing the left over lamb version, just give a good stir around to absorb the flavours.
Increase heat and add the wine, let evaporate
Add tomato puree and stock
Turn heat down low and cook gently for 2 hours
10 mins before the cooking time ends, add the almond milk. This is optional.
Serve with pasta if you're doing pasta ragu or mashed potato and green veggies if you're doing the lamb stew version