Or: that time I forgot to put the food in the crockpot for a dinner party and it still turned out great.
I was having friends over for dinner and I had big ambitions. I was going to make a beautiful, warm beef ragu in the crock pot; start it in the morning before work and let it simmer all day until it was fall-apart tender. My guests were going to be greeted by the smell of rich garlic and tomato sauce.
UNFORTUNATELY things don’t always go as planned. I woke up late and rushed out the door, completely forgetting to put anything in the crockpot and didn’t even think about it until 2:00 pm. The beef ragu, which should have been on hour 6 out of 8 of cooking was still sitting in the fridge.
So I made a new plan and decided to braise it in a dutch oven and hope for the best. It actually turned out really good. Like really good.
The moral of the story is flexibility is a great life skill and you should make this beef ragu. Serve it over pasta. Pair it with laughing at your own mistakes and red wine.
Braised Beef Ragu
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 lbs flap steak or flank steak
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, 28 oz
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- Cook the garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat until golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and save for later.
- Season the steak with salt and pepper. Sear quickly on both sides in the pan you used to cook the garlic, 2 or 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan
- Add the wine to the hot pan and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom. (This is called deglazing)
- Add the steak, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, and broth. Give it a good stir to get everything combined. Throw in the thyme and bay leaf. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
- After an hour or two, check the beef for tenderness. If it's easy to shred it apart with a fork, it's ready to go. Remove the thyme stems and the bay leaf. Shred the beef with two forks and stir everything around to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve over pasta or polenta. Top it with ricotta and fresh thyme and parsley.