Sunday, 16 January 2011

Day 17 - Beef ragout with pasta

Yeah yeah...if you were round my house I'd be calling it spag bog. Anyway, you know what it is, I'm just afraid of the Authentic Italian Food Police!! ;)

Ellie this one's for you, it's the slow cooker version I was making when I saw you earlier. Although as usual I forgot to take a photo. It's spag bog though, you know what it's supposed to look like!!

Extra Easy, all food free

Extra lean beef mince - make sure it is the extra lean stuff!
Couple of slices of smoked bacon (optional) - trimmed, all fat removed
Garlic (as much as you care for)
Courgette (or two)
Green pepper
MUSHROOMS - don't care what sort, as long as they're tasty!
Can of tomatoes (400g)
Splodge of tomato puree
Kallo beef stock cube
Teeny splish of balsamic vinegar
Black pepper

Oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, parsley - or, alternatively, just use mixed herbs. No REALLY. I'm not being snobby about this, cook it for long enough in the slow cooker and it becomes a thing of MAGIC.

Begin by browning the bacon in some low cal frying spray. Add the beef, shredding it up well with your fingers; no chunks please! When it's starting to look foxy, add the nutmeg, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and stock cube, mooshing it up with the juices from the meat and stirring it in well. While that's doing, slice up your onions and crush the garlic, and add it to the pan. Stir it well and let everything brown and be golden.

While that's happening, chop your courgettes, mushrooms and pepper, and pop them in the bottom of your slow cooker. Give them a turn about so they're mixed up a bit. How is the beef/onion mix looking? Add the canned tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs; the main one should be oregano, with basil and parsley coming next, and then a pinch of all the others. Seriously, if you haven't got them...stick mixed herbs in and while you're out at work grab some oregano to pop in at the end. All will be well. Right. If it's heated through, pour it all into the slow cooker pot, stir it through gently and stick the lid on. You can cook this on low for pretty much as long as you want to, if I'm honest.

Serve it with some wholegrain pasta and salad.

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