Hey, What’s Cookin’?
The name of the game today is Crock Pot Beef Ragu. What’s a ragu? It’s an Italian sauce made with meat, vegetables, seasonings, and sometimes tomatoes. It’s traditionally served over pasta or polenta, but I suggest you enjoy lighter options, such as mashed cauliflower or vegetable noodles made from zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, turnips, or even sweet potatoes!
This recipe is a little different in that I have you cook the meat 2/3 of the way done, and then stop the process. Why? So you can refrigerate the sauce overnight. Any fat in the sauce will rise to the top and harden. Skimming the excess fat will improve the nutritional value of the ragu. Cutting the roast into slices before the final cooking lets the sauce penetrate the meat even further and ensures that it’s super tender and flavorful.
Crock Pot Beef Ragu would make a great addition to your meal prep repertoire. You could have an entire week’s worth of meals from this dish by just changing around the vegetable noodles, or you could stock up your freezer with individual portions of ragu, for those nights when you are too tired to cook. No matter how you serve it, this Crock Pot Beef Ragu is a delicious, time-saving winner!
Crock Pot Beef Ragu
Inspired by a recipe from Martha Stewart
- 1 med onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tbs tomato paste
- 2 28-oz cans of lower-sodium diced tomatoes, drained (SAVE the juice by draining cans over a bowl)
- 3 tbs chopped fresh oregano leaves OR 3 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 c tomato juice drained from canned diced tomatoes
- 1 c red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 beef chuck roast (3-4 pounds, cut into two even pieces)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Mashed cauliflower or vegetable noodles of your choice
- In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, combine onion, garlic, tomato paste, drained diced tomatoes, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper. Season roast with salt and pepper and place on top of onion mixture. Mix tomato juice, red wine, and beef stock in a bowl; pour over all.
- Cover and cook for 6 hours on LOW. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and cool; place in a covered container and refrigerate overnight. Remove the sauce to a covered container as well and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, 3 hours before serving, skim the sauce of any fat that has risen to the top. Pour the defatted sauce back into the crock pot.
- Slice the roast into 1/2″ slices (some of the roast may shred, which is fine) and submerge the meat in the sauce. Cover and cook on LOW for an additional 2-3 hours, until roast is completely tender and breaks apart easily. Use two forks to shred the meat slices.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the mashed cauliflower or vegetable noodles of your choice.
- Serve the Crock Pot Beef Ragu over a pile of mashed cauliflower or vegetable noodles.
Photograph via msomnimedia