Last weekend I spent some time with Donna Hay The New Classics and tried the slow-cooked beef ragu. Who knew that a chuck roast could be anything other than a pot roast? Cook it long enough with a can of tomatoes, wine, and broth, fork-shred the meat, and you have a sauce for pasta, polenta, or a steak sandwich.
Adapted from the original “Slow-Cooked Beef Ragu Pasta” ibid. I made a few adjustments for practicality, including a switch from the oven to a counter-top slow cooker.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips:
- Cook the ragu a day or two ahead and put the pot in the refrigerator. The fat will harden as it cools and you can lift it off with a spoon and discard. Before serving, reheat the ragu then proceed with shredding the meat.
- For beef stock I like to use either Better Than Bouillon or a good quality frozen stock or broth.
- 2 - 3 pound chuck roast
- 2 tablespoons flour (semolina or all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 - 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
- 1 onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, whole
- for serving: Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, shredded
- Cut chuck roast into 3 large pieces. Dust with flour and sprinkle with salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in stove-top safe slow cooker insert or large (8-quart) dutch oven. Brown the beef for 3 - 5 minutes on each side in the hot oil. Remove beef to a plate.
- Add additional 1 tablespoon oil to the slow cooker insert, heat over medium heat, then add sliced onion and garlic. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to high and add the tomato paste. Stir with wooden spoon for a couple minutes. Add the honey and stir. Add the wine and cook for a couple minutes, scraping bottom of ban with wooden spoon. Reduce wine by about 1/2. Add the stock and whole can of tomatoes. Bring to boil. Add beef pieces back to slow-cooker insert and transfer to slow cooker base. Cover and set to cook 6 hours on High. (Alternatively, you can cook in covered dutch oven, 350° for 2 - 3 hours.)
- Remove beef from liquid and shred with two forks, discarding any fat. Return meat to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with hot pasta, polenta, or crusty bread.