Thursday, 14 March 2013

al Beef Ragu
There is something special about simmering pasta sauce!
Your mouth starts to salivate as you begin to imagine the wonderful taste that will be in your mouth...soon!
Slow cooking meat sauce that takes hours to stew is what Sunday lunches were all about in my home as I was growing up.
My mother in her apron, taking her time to make the Sunday sauce, which we could never wait for it to be ready, as we dipped our crusty bread into it while it cooked.
My mother still makes her sauce the same way but, I change mine weekly depending on what is in my fridge or what was on sale at the grocery store.
This gives me variety and I can incorporate a number of veggies into the sauce to make it more nutritional.

1-2lbs of cubed stewing beef
1 zucchini, washed and cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 celery rib, washed, chopped
1/2 carrot peeled, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp basil, chopped or torn
2 750ml jars of pureed tomatoes
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup white or red wine
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
In a preheated large sauce pot add the oil and begin to brown the meat on all sides.

When all of the meat is browned remove with a slotted spoon to a plate/platter and cover.  Add vegetables to the pot.

Cook vegetables for approximately 5 minutes. Stirring every minute or so to prevent sticking.  Add a small amount of oil if needed.

Add the meat back to the pot and deglaze with the wine. Stirring to coat and scrape off any tasty bits on the bottom of the pot.
Allow the wine to cook for 2-3 min.  Pour in tomato puree, spices, salt and herbs.  *We can our own tomatoes in the summer for storage. If you have store bought tomatoes you will need to add some water. You will need from 1/2cup to 1 cup depending on the concentration of the tomato.  Bring to a boil, stirring regularly then add tomato paste.
Turn the heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hrs. or until meat is fork tender. The longer a meat sauce cooks the denser it becomes as the liquid begins to evaporate and reduce. A longer cooking time also becomes more caloric.

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