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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slow-Cooked Beef and Mushroom Ragout

 Ragout is of French origin.  It is also called ragu in Itali.  The dish is a thick, hearty stew cook over low fire very slowly for a long period of time allowing all the ingredients to blend well with one another.

The term “ragoût” comes from the French ragoûter, which means “to revive the appetite.” Recipes for this stew dating back to the 1600s have been found in France, which suggests that people have been making it for a very long time, and by the 1700s, a very diverse assortment of recipes were being published. Some ragoûts are entirely vegetarian, for example, while others are heavy on meat, and some cooks introduce ingredients like cream to vary the flavor.

This was the first time that I cooked this dish and I was surprised of the mixture of flavor after slow-cooking it for 4 hours.  Yes, it is indeed a bit of a wait for the dish to cook but hey it's all worth it.  The taste is somewhat similar between the Filipino caldereta and afritada dishes.  The soup is quite thick and mouthwatering.  The best thing about cooking this dish in a slow cooker, is that you can leave it cooking by itself without worrying about it getting burnt while you are doing other things.  I love my slow cooker now hehehe.

You can serve this delicious ragout with mashed potatoes or rice or both.  Try my husband's yummy mashed potato recipe too.

Ingredients
500 g beef, cubed (chuck or blade)
6 baby onions or 2 medium onions (quartered)
200 g bacon, chopped
10 button mushrooms
100 ml beef broth
100 ml red wine
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tin diced tomatoes (400 g)
1/2 c frozen peas
2 tsp thyme
olive oil

Procedure
Coat the meat with flour (Use ziploc plastic bag to do this).
Heat the oil in the pan.  Put in onions, mushrooms and bacon.  Remove from pan when the onions are soft.  Put into the slow cooker.
Sear the beef on each side. Remove from pan and put into the slow cooker
Pour in the red wine and broth on the pan.  Simmer a bit and pour into the slow cooker.
Put in the thyme and tomatoes.  Add salt  and pepper (to taste).
Put the slow cooker on high heat and cook the ragout for 4 hours (8 hours if low heat). 
Put in the peas 10 minutes before turning off the heat.

Note: If you don't have a slow cooker, you can use a crockpot and cook the ragout for 9 hours.  If you opt for a less complicated way, you can use the ready mix ragout soup base of McCormick.  You can also replace beef with lamb, chicken or pork.

A comment or two will be appreciated...

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