Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is a rich and tender, fall-apart tomato beef sauce. With all the magic happening in your slow cooker, come home to a satisfying, ready-made home cooked dinner!
This Slow Cooker Beef Ragu recipe is my favourite way to spend a cold winters day with warm flavours!
Beautifully browned and slow cooked beef infuses so much flavour into this rustic and versatile sauce. While this ragu is incredibly easy to make with cheaper cuts of beef that are normally tough and chewy, slow cooking breaks down the meat and creates a melt-in-your-mouth tomato sauce. Serve this slow cooker ragu on anything: zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash for lower carb options OR pasta and rice if you’re a carb lover. Even a soft and creamy polenta happens occasionally over here with this ragu, just like this Osso Bucco in Red Wine Sauce.
Picture this: 4 pounds (or 2 kilos) of beef brisket or roast, simmered in crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano, seasoned with salt and pepper, and drowning in red wine. How can it not taste like heaven?
This ragu makes about 14-15 cups of falling-apart meat sauce, which is heaps and perfect for leftovers. Think ragu grilled cheese. Um…. YES.
In this recipe, you have the option of browning the meat first. The flavour that develops from that simple step is mind-blowing. Of course, you don’t HAVE to, but I’m kind of TELLING you to do this step — in a non-bossing-you-around type of way.
THEN, you’re going to brown your garlic and onions in the pan juices… and throw it all in with the rest of the ingredients.
After that, just walk away completely confident in knowing something good and delicious is happening in your slow cooker. Deep flavours building together and blending into a perfect rustic sauce. Because you can’t mess up slow cooked meat… especially this recipe. Its fool proof.
Once it’s done, shred your beef with a couple of forks until it’s completely shredded, and pour it a llllll over your pasta / rice / or the lower carb options mentioned above.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil , divided
- 4 pounds | 2kg beef brisket or round roast (or any slow cooking beef of your choice), trimmed of fat
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic , finely copped or minced
- 2 x 14-ounce | 410g cans crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine (or beef broth / stock)
- 1/2 cup beef broth | stock
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (adjust to your tastes)
- cracked pepper to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to your tastes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (OPTIONAL FOR A THICK SAUCE)
- Cut beef into 4 pieces. OPTIONAL FOR ADDED FLAVOUR: Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sear each piece of beef on both sides until browned (about 5 minutes each side). Transfer each piece to your 6qt slow cooker bowl as soon as they are seared.
- You should have left over oil in the pan (or skillet) from the beef. If not, add 1 tablespoon of (extra) oil to the pan. Fry the garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the onion and fry until transparent. Add the garlic/onion mixture over the beef in the slow cooker, plus all remaining ingredients (except for the cornstarch/water mixture).
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, or HIGH for 4-5 hours.The beef is ready if it falls apart easily when pulled apart with two forks.
- NOTE: If you desire a thicker sauce, stir the cornstarch/water mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes and allow to thicken.
- Shred the beef into pieces; mix through the sauce. Serve over pasta, rice, polenta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
IF SERVING WITH PASTA: In the last 15 minutes of cooking time, boil pasta in salted water following packet instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Pour the reserved water back into the pasta along with 2 cups of cooked ragu. Stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese and (extra) chopped parsley, if desired.
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