I’m not sure about you, but I was getting ready for Autumn by getting my cardigans out and secretly thinking about Christmas. And then boom. Summer! Glorious sunshine sent me into a blind panic to find my sunglasses and shorts. It was absolutely beautiful and although brief, I am grateful for the few days of sunshine we just had.
I believed summer was over so much that I started to prepare slightly warming dishes like this one. My lamb ragu is a dish that I love to cook in batch and portion it out for the freezer. Then on a busy day I simply take it out of the freezer and serve it out however I please. It’s a total comfort dish and can be used in many different ways such as lasagne’s, shepherds pie or simply spaghetti bolognese.
I like to use my slow cooker and let the ragu blip away for hours to intensify the flavour. If you don’t have a slow cooker you can easily cook it in a low oven for a little less time. But annoyingly if you use a slow cooker, you have to brown the veggies and meat off in a separate pan first. I know, more washing up I hear you say. It’s important to do this though as you need to develop flavour by caramelising the veggies and meat.
I often use this recipe for lasagne but this time I decided to change it up a little and use pappardelle, a beautiful thick cut pasta that can be found in most supermarkets. It held the sauce really well and felt very comforting and almost restaurant like.
So here’s how I made mine. Please bear in mind that this is not an authentic recipe, just something I like to make my way. Plus the measurements are approximate as I like to just thrown things in. Isn’t that the best way to cook? Add a little of this and a little of that. Taste it and adjust it to your tastebuds. Go crazy!
Serves approximately 6-8 people (I divide mine into three and freeze two batches)
- 1kg lamb mince
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
- 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tins plum tomatoes
- 1 chicken stock melt
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a large pan on a medium heat and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic and rosemary and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelised. Place into your slow cooker.
- Place the now empty pan back on the heat and add your mince lamb. Break up with the back of a wooden spoon and fry until golden and caramelised. Add the mince to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and mix.
- Add salt and pepper to your taste, approximately 500ml of boiling water and mix.
- Turn the slow cooker onto high and let it simmer away for 6-8 hours, or overnight on the low setting.
- Serve with pappardelle pasta and drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Enjoy!
This is a great recipe to prepare the day before as the longer you leave it, the more flavoursome it will be. Plus I think there is something very satisfying about slow cooking, don’t you?
Leave me a comment if you have any tips and tricks for a great ragu. Everybody likes to add something a little different and I’d love to know yours 🙂
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I am a food photographer and stylist based in Milton Keynes. Please check out my website to see more of my work at www.jbimagery.co.uk