When I mention making ragu to my kids they think of the red jarred tomato sauce. A ragu is actually a meat based dish with lots of diced vegetables with some tomato. It is thicker and richer tasting than a tomato sauce. Similar in premise to a bolognese but made with red wine instead of white and even less tomatoes.
This freezes well for leftovers – remember to set a date to use them so they don’t go bad in your freezer. Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes or whatever you like!
Verdict: I love making a ragu every once in awhile. The flavors are deep and rich from spending time in the slow cooker. Don’t have a slow cooker? You can do this low and slow in a dutch oven too. The meat should fall apart as you shred it in the end. Remember to use a good red wine that you would drink. You don’t want to make a dish and have it ruined by using a wine that doesn’t blend with the spices and meat.
Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 2 stalk celery , diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes , do not drain
- 2 bay leaves
- Heat oil on high heat in a large dutch oven and season chuck roast pieces with salt and pepper.
- Cook the beef on all sides until well browned, about 10 minutes then remove from the pot and place the beef into your slow cooker.
- Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, dried thyme, crushed red pepper flakes and stir.
- Whisk together the wine, beef broth, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar then pour it into the slow cooker.
- Add diced tomatoes and bay leaves, stir to combine and set crock pot to low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
- Gently break up two forks and stir well to coat with sauce.
- Cook pasta according to directions if desired to serve. Sauce is THICK. Stir well and remove bay leaves before serving.