Easy Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is the most delicious tender shredded beef dish full of deeply comforting Italian flavours and super versatile never mind economical.
I roll here as always and that is with just throwing it all in and leaving the slow cooker to work it's magic. My absolute favourite way to cook.
The beef doesn't need searing, the flavours here as just wonderfully rich enough to need nothing more.
This is probably a contentious instruction but I really haven't got time to clear up after all that fat spitting and I really don't think it matters. I know, I'm a radical.
What is ragu?
Ragu is traditionally a rich Italian meat based sauce with chopped vegetables (sofritto) that is usually served with pasta (pappardelle). It needs to cook for long enough to allow the ingredients to deliciously meld together. A kinda pulled beef vibe. It is similar to Bolognese but the pasta sauce is classically made with red wine.
Reasons to love slow cooker beef ragu
- use up any veggies you need to use up
- perfect to come home to
- great for batch cooking
- easy and stress free
- make ahead
*Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full printable recipe card*
2 medium carrots - finely chopped
2 sticks celery - finely chopped
half of large onion or one medium onion finely chopped
here is a link to show the easiest way to chop veg finely for your sofritto. I've always wanted to be able to chop like a chef but I'm still rubbish
1 tsp garlic puree or 1 grated/chopped large clove
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
800 grams (1.75 lb) stewing beef or shin of beef or braising beef
250 mls double strength stock (I use red wine stock pots)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour
tin of chopped tomatoes
half a tsp dried thyme
half a tsp dried sage
Step by step method
Chop up your vegetables (not tomatoes) quite finely or you could blitz in the food processor trying to still keep them chunky.
Put the beef chunks, veg, flour, herbs, sugar and salt into the pot and mixed the flour through.
Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic puree and stock and stir again.
Put the lid on and cook for 8 hours on Low or 6 hours on High.
Stir through to help shred the meat up and meld into the sauce.
Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing in the fridge or the freezer.
Traditionally beef ragu is served with pasta, my favourite with this is pappardelle and sprinkled with some sort of cheese, I love grated parmesan but cheddar works well too.
But this is such an incredibly versatile dish it goes amazingly well with just about anything.
- jacket potatoes
- mashed potatoes
- new potatoes
- roast potatoes
- dauphinoise potatoes
- sloppy joe stylee
- crusty bread
Variations & Substitutions
You can add in or use up any vegetables that will stand up to long, slow cooking.
So things like swede, butternut squash, courgettes, peppers are perfect and you could throw in not so robust vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach and broccoli closer to the end of cooking.
Tips & Tricks
If you want to have a richer sauce then use 150 mls of red wine and 125 mls of beef stock. But be mindful that the alcohol content may not cook off if you are feeding it to children etc
I use red wine stock pots instead of beef stock pots to get the rich flavour without using red wine.
You can mix up the herbs to suit what you have but just be careful with the amount as some herbs like oregano are more powerful than others.
Double up the mixture so that you can freeze half for another meal or two.
Freeze once cool in a stout container for up to 3 months. Defrost fully before heating till piping hot.
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
Easy Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- 1 slow cooker
- 1 choppoing board
- 1 chopping knife
- 1 Measuring Jug
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 tbsp measure
- 800 grams stewing steak
- 2 large carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 medium onion
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried sage
- 1 beef stock cube/pot - 250 mls boiling water
- 1 tsp garlic puree 1 clove
- 2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- Chop up your vegetables (not tomatoes) quite finely or you could blitz in the food processor trying to still keep them chunky.
- Put the beef chunks, veg, flour, herbs, sugar and salt into the pot and mixed the flour through.
- Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic puree and stock and stir again.
- Put the lid on and cook for 8 hours on Low or 6 hours on High.
- Stir through to help shred the meat up and meld into the sauce.
- Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing in the fridge or the freezer.
All nutritional information is approximate and intended only as a guide.