Introduction: Rich Beef and Oxtail Ragu

“The best thing I’ve ever eaten”
“A revelation!”
“Life changing”

All lovely things that have NEVER been said about my Ragu.

But my kids call it yummilicious, so that’s what I call a dinner winner!

This recipe will make enough Ragu for 4 hungry adults but will leave you with enough leftover sauce to make a killer lasagne or a big old batch of Bolognese.

It really is delicious, give it a go!

Step 1: Step One: Ingredients and Equipment

-Frying pan
-Stick blender
-Chopping board
-Sharp knife
-Measuring jug
-Measuring spoons
-Slotted spoon
-Wooden spoon
-x1 Large sandwich bag

1kg Oxtail bones ( the meatier the better)
500g Stewing Beef Steak
1 large onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 pack smoked bacon lardons ( or chop up 4 slices smoked bacon rashers)
2 large carrots
2 sticks celery
3tbs tomatoe purée
500g tomato passata ( with added herbs if you can)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 lemon
1 bunch of parsley (70gs)
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1tbs red or white wine vinegar
2 beef stock cubes ( I use stock pots)
500mls full bodied red wine ( one you would enjoy drinking)
1tsp sugar
4tbsp olive oil
1tsp butter
Tagliatelle to serve

Step 2: And So We Begin...

Add 1tbs oil to your crockpot pan.

Turn up heat to medium. Throw in your smoked bacon and cook until well browned.

Remove bacon and set aside for later.

Step 3: Chop Chop

Onion and garlic. Dice those suckers, throw them in where your bacon once had residence.

Turn the heat to low so that they cook gently.

Step 4: Shake It Baby!

Add your 4tbs flour, 2tsp smoked paprika, good pinch salt and a good grind of pepper to your large sandwich bag and shake it well.

Add all your meat to the bag and shake it until all meat is covered.

Step 5: Be Brave!

Add 3tbs oil to a frying pan and brown off your meat in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.

You want your meat to get lovely and dark brown.

Don’t turn the meat too often or the flour crust will just fall off.

Step 6: Take a Bit of Time, Love and Tenderness...

Taking the meat to a dark brown level will add real depth of flavour to your ragu.

Step 7: Veggie Goodness

While you brown your beef and oxtail chop up your x2 carrots and x2 celery. They don’t have to be perfectly diced as everything is getting blended later!

Add to the onion pan, give it a little stir and continue to cook gently.

Step 8: Don’t Be Bitter

Add your 3 tablespoons of tomato purée and your teaspoon sugar to the vegetables - sugar helps to take away the bitterness that comes from the purée.

Step 9: Stir It Up

Give it all a little stir for a few minutes. Think loving thoughts, this is your food baby.

Step 10: Juicy-licious

Pre-heat your oven to 140 degrees celsius ( 120 degrees in a fan oven).

Add your saucy components to the veg pan: 1 x 500g passata with herbs, 1x 500 ml red wine, 750ml boiling water with 2 beef stock pots dissolved in it.

Step 11: Herb and Zing

Take 35g parsley. Cut off the stalky ends (discard) and chop up the leaves finely.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon.

Step 12: Oven Ready

Add parsley and lemon to the veggie pot.

Drain the beef and oxtail of any oil and also add to your crockpot.

Season with 1teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Give it a big stir.

Step 13: You Beauty!

Pop a lid on and put on the middle shelf of your oven. Put on a timer for 6-8hrs.

Walk away with a smug little look on your face.

This meal is going to be a beauty!

Step 14: 8 Hrs Later...

Panic ye not! It’s looking pretty oily!

But go ahead and spoon that oil gently away into a glass or cup or old tin can.

Step 15: My Body Is a Temple

Get rid of that oil and pretend it never existed.
(just not down your sink or it will clog up your drains!)

Step 16: Looking Better

That’s better!

A (nearly) finished Ragu that won’t give your cardiologist nightmares.

Step 17: Smooth and Saucy

Remove as much meat as you can with a slotted spoon and put aside.

Put most of the stray veg that gets picked up back in your sauce.

Chop up the other 35g of your parsley, reserving some for decoration, and add to your crockpot.

Blend that sauce smooth with your stick blender.

Step 18: Pick and Mix

Taste your sauce and add salt and pepper to taste along with the juice of the other half of your lemon.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes to freshen up the tomato-i-ness. Feel free to add 1 tbs of red or white wine vinegar if you feel it is needed to cut through the richness. (I like it a bit more on the tangy side).

Now, If you have hands like asbestos ( i.e. your hands can handle great hotness), gently shred your beef and take the oxtail meat from the bone. Discard any fatty bits and bone from the oxtail.

NOTE: If you can’t handle the heat go to step 19 and come back to this step when the meat has cooled.

Put the meat into a clean pan and add as much simmering sauce from your crockpot as you would like (I add a litre).

Add 1tsp butter to your ragu and mix. Butter gives that silky mouth feel.

Step 19: (Purely Optional)

If you need to wait until the meat cools down feel no guilt in having one of these. You’ve bloomin’ earned it, you legend!

Step 20: Yummilicious!

Now tidy up that unholy mess you’ve created, including the trail of paprika you’ve rolled across the floor (just me? Ok, I’m a messy cook) and poor yourself a glass of the good stuff.

Once your kitchen no longer looks like it would be shut down by health and safety, boil some water and cook your tagliatelle. I love tagliatelle with this, though mashed potato is nearly as lovely.

Once cooked, plate up your tagliatelle. Mix in a good amount of your ragu and then sprinkle with your reserved chopped parsley.

Rest safe in the knowledge that it’s been a job well done! A delicious meal for the family or friends, with loads of sauce left over for future food adventures.

Bon appétit, friends!

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