Big Batch: Slow-Cooked Beef and Red Wine Ragu

Beef and red wine ragu with a glass of wine, on the couch in front of Netflix is my happy place after a long day at the store. It’s meaty, full of red wine & tomatoes, and is one of the most soul-warming dishes around. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I could happily eat pasta every night!

Traditionally, ragu is made with minced meat, but I love how chuck steak pulls gently apart when it’s slow-cooked for a couple of hours giving a slightly shredded consistency.

My big batch recipes generally feed 6-8 serves. The idea is that one batch will feed 3-4 people 2 nights dinner making them great for time-poor people, batch cooks, or like me, cooking for shift workers.

flatlay of a frypan of slow cooked beef and red wine ragu on a bed of capunti pasta, with parmasean and basil leaves.

What you need to get started

  • pantry essentials – extra virgin olive oil, beef stock, tomato paste

  • vegetables – onions, garlic

  • chuck steak – make sure you ask your butcher for a cut of meat suitable for slow cooking. I mainly use chuck steak because it’s so readily available.

  • canned tomatoes – if you have an abundance of tomatoes from the garden, you could substitute fresh for canned.

  • red wine – I’m not normally fussy when it comes to the type of red wine I use for slow cooking. I’m not a huge red wine lover, but I always have a bottle or two lying around for cooking. They are normally a cabernet or merlot that costs around $12.

  • herbs – fresh bay leaf and thyme

If you are as obsessed with slow-cooked stews as I am, check out my Irish Stew recipe. Because what’s the point of an Irishman’s Wife if she doesn’t have a good stew recipe up her sleeve?

The details

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°c.
  2. In a large, cast-iron pot, combine olive oil and onion. Cook on the stovetop on low heat till softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute and stir through.
  3. Add the chuck steak. Gently seal all sides of the meat (usually about 1 minute on each side). If you’re using a smaller pan this will need to be done in stages. Don’t overcrowd the pan as the meat will just stew. We’re sealing in all the goodness and rendering any fat on the outside! 
  4. Add the beef stock, red wine, canned tomato, tomato paste, bay, and thyme.  Bring to simmering point on top of the stove, then pop in the oven (lid on) for 3 hours.
  5. Remove from oven.  Taste test and make sure that beef is falling apart, so you get shreds of it through the pasta. 
  6. Serve with cooked al-dente pasta, a shaving of good parmesan, basil leaves, and a glass of wine!

How to serve ragu

Traditionally Ragu is served with pappardelle pasta. Personally, I like to serve my beef ragu recipe with Capunti pasta. All the good, tomato-ey bits get stuck in the crevices. It’s also my favourite pasta so I try to weave it into recipes as much as possible! Oh and always finish this one with a good parmesan and freshly picked basil. You’ll thank me for it!

You could also turn it into a pie by popping it into an oven-proof dish, topping it with puff pastry, and baking until flaky and golden. Beef & red wine ragu also is fantastic served with sides of mashed potato and steamed greens.

Cooking in cast iron

When it comes to slow cooking, the biggest factor (besides the cut of meat) is what you cook the ragu in. My preference is always cast iron, specifically a cast-iron casserole. It retains heat like nothing else and can magically turn slow-cooked meals into something really special. While they are an investment, I always say that my cast iron cookware makes me a better cook. Alternatively, you could try a clay pot. Stay away from stainless steel for slow cooking. It just doesn’t work. Stainless steel cookware is more suited to fast cooking, steaming, boiling, frying, etc.

The main thing to remember about cooking in cast iron is to heat up your pan on a low heat – never blast with high heat, you’ll only ruin your pan.

A quick tip on buying pasta

When buying pasta from the store, there’s pasta, and there’s pasta. Many supermarket pasta is dried at high temperatures, effectively par cooking the pasta and making it really hard to get a perfect al dente pasta. Seek out those who stock pasta that is air-dried. You will not only notice the superior difference in taste, but the pasta itself is far better for you. 

HINT – Where possible, cook your ragu a day in advance. Next day stew always tastes better! 

Batch cook this one!

That’s why I never slow cook a small batch of (any) stew. Batch cooking is a busy mum’s best friend. Cook the ragu in advance, cool, and freeze into smaller portions that you can whip out of the freezer at any time. Mid-week dinner sorted! Ready to eat? Just cook the pasta and reheat the ragu. Dinner is served!

Obsessed with slow cooking? Here are a few more slow-cooked recipes for you…

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
flatlay of a frypan of slow cooked beef and red wine ragu on a bed of capunti pasta, with parmasean and basil leaves.

BIG BATCH: Slow-Cooked Beef and Red Wine Ragu

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Beef and red wine ragu with a glass of wine, on the couch in front of Netflix is my happy place after a long day at the store. It’s meaty, full of red wine & tomatoes, and is one of the most soul warming dishes around.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 kg chuck steak (cut in rough 3cm dice)
  • 2 400g canned tomatoes
  • 250 ml beef stock
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150°c.
  2. In a large, cast iron pot, combine olive oil and onion onion. Cook on the stovetop on a low heat till softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute and stir through.
  3. Add the chuck steak. Gently seal all sides of the meat (usually about 1 minute on each side). If you’re using a smaller pan this will need to be done in stages. Don’t overcrowd the pan as the meat will just stew. We’re sealing in all the goodness and rendering any fat on the outside! 
  4. Add the beef stock, red wine, canned tomato, tomato paste, bay and thyme.  Bring to simmer point on top of stove, then pop in the oven (lid on) for 3 hours.
  5. Remove from oven.  Taste test and make sure that beef is falling apart, so you get shreds of it through the pasta. 
  6. Serve with cooked al-dente pasta, a shaving of good parmesan, basil leaves and a glass of wine!


Notes

I like to serve my ragu on a bed of Capunti pasta and top with a good parmesan and freshly picked basil. 

Keywords: Beef, Pasta, Slow Cooking, Ragu

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful. This is a place for positivity, inspiration, constructive criticism & healthy debate. Comments that are deemed inappropriate, offensive, unrelated to this story, or spam will be deleted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating