Beef Ragu Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shiitakes

Beef Ragu, Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shiitake Mushrooms
Irresistible on a cold winter night, beef ragu with vegetables and shiitake mushrooms is comforting and scrumptious..

It gets cold here in MN this time of year and almost automatically I start thinking about slow-cooked, hearty, delicious food!!  Beef ragu that is slow cooked with vegetables and shiitakes is EXACTLY what I am thinking.  Ragu by definition is a northern Italian dish that  typically uses minced, chopped or ground meat, cooked with sauteed vegetables in a liquid. The meats may include one or more of  beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game.   (If you are looking for a similar vegetarian sauce, consider my roasted tomato marinara,  http://www.hotdatedinner.com/roasted-tomato-marinara/).   In this recipe I am using a boneless beef chuck roast with carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms.  The liquid part is a combination of beef broth, juice from the tomatoes and wait for it…RED WINE!!  Now, do I have your attention?!?!

This is the perfect hot date dinner on a cold winter night!  Prep is minimal and you can let this simmer on your stove for a good part of the day or let your crock pot do the work and it will be waiting for you.  Tim LOVES homemade gnocchi (http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/potato-gnocchi) so that is what I usually serve this with, but pappardelle pasta or your favorite pasta would work beautifully with this as well.  Let’s cook..

First, reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking them in boiling water...
First, reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking them in boiling water for 20-30 minutes…the addition of the mushrooms and the broth will be a delightful flavor boost to your beef ragu..

Isn’t that a beautiful picture??  Have you ever used dried mushrooms?  Even know they exist?  They can be found at some grocery stores on online  (https://www.amazon.com/Mushroom-House-Dried-Mushrooms-Shiitake/dp/B00PXRL39C/ref=sr_1_5_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1513781648&sr=8-5&keywords=dried+shiitake) and by reconstituting them in boiling water you will have the added bonus of a flavorful broth that can be a big enhancement to any dish.  Cooking with dried mushrooms also allows you to enjoy mushrooms when they aren’t in season, and it allows you to use mushroom varieties that may not be readily available to you in fresh form.   For more information on dried mushrooms check out  https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-substitute-dried-mushrooms-for-fresh-mushrooms-1388871.  

A beautiful, boneless, beef chuck roast will be the star of this dish....
A beautiful, boneless, beef chuck roast will be the star of this dish….

The chuck cut comes from the shoulder of the cow, an area of the animal that is continually exercised, which allows the muscle tissues to develop more flavor.  This cut requires low, slow cooking which makes it ideal for this dish.

Cut the roast into 8 equal portions, season all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper and brown all sides evenly...
Cut the roast into 8 equal portions, season all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper and brown all sides evenly…
Once the beef is browned, place in a large Dutch oven (this could also be done in a crock pot) on top of the sauteed vegetables. Next, comes all of the liquid, followed by time...
Once the beef is browned, place in a large Dutch oven (this could also be done in a crock pot) on top of the sauteed vegetables. Next, comes all of the liquid, followed by time…
All ingredients into the pot and now it slowly simmers for 2 1/2 -3 hours (or all day on low in your crockpot)....
All ingredients into the pot and now it slowly simmers for 2 1/2 -3 hours (or all day on low in your crock pot)….

Your house is now smelling ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!  Once the ragu has simmered for 21/2-3 hours, it is time to remove the meat, shred it and add it back to the pot.

Slow cooking with the wine and tomatoes will tenderize the meat to the point that it will easily tear with two forks...
Slow cooking with the wine and tomatoes will tenderize the meat to the point that it will easily tear with two forks…
Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time...
Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time…
Cheers to hot date dinner!!
Cheers to hot date dinner!!
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Beef Ragu Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shittakes

Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time...

5 from 1 reviews

NOTHING is more comforting on a cold winter night than beef ragu that is slow cooked with vegetables and shiitake mushrooms.  Make this ragu, let it cook a good part of the day and serve it over pasta or gnocchi.  No one will be able to resist!!  This recipes makes enough to feed a crowd, but also freezes very well.

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2-3 hours
  • Total Time: 3-3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 12 + servings

Ingredients

1 oz dried shittake mushrooms (use any dried mushrooms you prefer), rehydrated and broth reserved

3/12 pounds beef chuck roast (boneless), cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 T evoo, separated

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, chopped

3 carrots, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes

6 T tomato paste

2 cups full bodied red wine (I prefer Cabernet)

2 cups beef broth

1 cup mushroom broth from re-hydrating mushrooms (substitute beef broth if you wish)

6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 bay leaves

pinch of sugar (optional)

Instructions

Reconstitute dried mushrooms by covering in 2 cups of boiling water.  Let the mushrooms sit for at least 30 minutes.  Drain and RESERVE 1 CUP of the broth, set aside.  Slice mushrooms.  

Pat the beef dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper.  Heat 3 T of evoo in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  

Turn down the heat to medium low and add remaining 3 T of evoo.  Saute garlic, onions, carrots, celery and (reserved) sliced mushrooms for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Add the remaining ingredients and reserved beef with juices.  Bring mixture to a low boil, turn down to low simmer, cover and cook about 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove the beef and coarsely shred with 2 forks.  Return beef to pot, simmer an additional 30 minutes until sauce is reduced by 1/2 and thickened.   Season to taste with salt, pepper and pinch of sugar (optional, as needed).  Serve ragu over your favorite pasta, polenta or gnocchi.  Cheers!!

Notes

Pair this rich meaty sauce with an Italian Barbera wine which is produced from a Northern Italian grape that tends to have happy cherry fruit and tart acidity that’s great with rich sauces.  Look for bottles from  Vietti or Cavallotto   (http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/3-best-wines-pair-pasta-bolognese).

This recipe improves over time so make a day or two in advance.  To freeze, place in zip-loc bags and lay flat to freeze.