Beef ragu

  • Makes 3 meals, each serves 4
  • Takes 10 minutes to make and 1¼ hours to cook
  • Easy
Once you've made this large ragu recipe, you can make quick and easy suppers from it such as cottage pie or lasagne.

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2kg good-quality lean beef steak mince
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 400ml red wine
  • 600ml good beef stock, hot
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes


  1. Divide the olive oil between 2 large saucepans and place both over a high heat. Add half the bacon to each pan and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Divide the onions, celery, garlic and bay leaves between the pans and cook over
  2. a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Return both pans to a high heat. When hot, add 1kg beef mince to each pan, breaking up with a spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Return the bacon and vegetables to the pans and mix together well.
  4. Divide the tomato purée and mixed herbs between the pans and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add half the red wine to each, bubble until reduced by half, then divide the beef stock and chopped tomatoes between each pan. Season both and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until thickened. Cool, then discard the bay leaves.
  • Once it’s cooked, divide the cooled ragù equally between 3 freezer bags. Label and place inside plastic containers. Freeze until frozen, then remove the bags from the containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, remove from the freezer and thaw completely at a cool room temperature for about 8 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours.

From November 2008

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