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: Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

Indulge in Italian Comfort: Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Italy with our Slow Cooker Beef Ragu recipe. This hearty and comforting dish features tender beef chuck roast slow-cooked with aromatic vegetables, herbs, and tomatoes, resulting in a luscious ragu that’s perfect for serving over pasta or creamy polenta. Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or craving a satisfying meal on a chilly evening, this Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is sure to impress. Join us as we guide you through the steps of preparing this classic Italian favorite from scratch.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare Ingredients: Begin by preparing all the vegetables – dice the carrots, onion, and celery, and mince the garlic.
  2. Sear Beef: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef chuck roast generously with salt and pepper. Sear the beef on all sides until deeply browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker.
  3. Saute Vegetables: In the same skillet, add the diced carrots, onion, celery, and minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened and lightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Deglaze Pan: Pour the red wine into the skillet to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine simmer for a few minutes to reduce slightly.
  5. Combine Ingredients: Transfer the sautéed vegetables and wine to the slow cooker with the seared beef. Add the beef broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
  6. Slow Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until the beef is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  7. Shred Beef: Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the sauce.
  8. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the ragu and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
  9. Thicken Sauce (Optional): If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix the cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the ragu and let it cook on high for an additional 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  10. Serve: Discard the bay leaves. Serve the Slow Cooker Beef Ragu over cooked pasta, creamy polenta, or mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: For a vegetarian version of this dish, omit the beef and use a combination of diced mushrooms and lentils as a substitute. Follow the same cooking instructions, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
  • Additional Vegetables: Feel free to add additional vegetables to the ragu, such as diced bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach, for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the ragu for a bit of heat and depth of flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here are some tips to adapt this Slow Cooker Beef Ragu recipe:

  • Low-Carb Thickener: Instead of using cornstarch to thicken the sauce, you can use xanthan gum or glucomannan powder, which are low-carb alternatives that work well as thickeners.
  • Serve Over Low-Carb Alternatives: Instead of serving the beef ragu over pasta or polenta, opt for low-carb alternatives such as zucchini noodles (zoodles), spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice.
  • Use Sugar-Free Tomatoes: Look for canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste that are sugar-free or have no added sugars to keep the carb count low.

In conclusion, Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is a comforting and flavorful dish that’s perfect for satisfying your Italian food cravings. With its tender beef, savory sauce, and aromatic herbs, this hearty ragu is sure to become a staple in your recipe collection. Whether enjoyed over pasta, polenta, or low-carb alternatives, this dish is guaranteed to delight your taste buds and warm your soul.

So, dust off your slow cooker, gather your ingredients, and let the magic of Italian cuisine unfold in your kitchen. With just a few simple steps, you can create a restaurant-quality meal that’s sure to impress family and friends. Buon appetito!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q: Can I use a different cut of beef for this recipe? A: While beef chuck roast is ideal for slow cooking, you can also use other cuts such as beef brisket or beef shank for this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as some cuts may require longer or shorter cooking times.

Q: Can I make this recipe without wine? A: Yes, if you prefer not to use wine, you can substitute beef broth or vegetable broth for the red wine in this recipe. The broth will still add flavor and richness to the ragu without the use of alcohol.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Absolutely! Slow Cooker Beef Ragu freezes well and can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to three months. To reheat, simply thaw the ragu overnight in the refrigerator and heat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.

Q: Can I add other herbs or spices to the ragu? A: Of course! Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor of the ragu to your liking. Fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, or rosemary can add a fragrant aroma, while spices like paprika or cayenne pepper can add a subtle kick of heat.

Q: What side dishes pair well with Slow Cooker Beef Ragu? A: Slow Cooker Beef Ragu pairs well with a variety of side dishes, including cooked pasta, creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, or crusty bread for soaking up the delicious sauce. You can also serve it alongside a simple green salad or roasted vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

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healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

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