Rich, Luscious and Red – Shiraz Beef and Mushroom Ragu


With the 2018 grape harvest season over and Autumn well and truly upon us here in the South West, I thought I would share an ultimate comfort food recipe which is certain to warm the heart, lift the soul and impress family, friends and/or dinner guests. It combines a few simple ingredients and with some long, slow cooking, transforms them into something special – a thick, full bodied Ragu that can be served as is with some crusty bread as a lunch or super snack, accompanied by an assortment of vegetable for a main course or folded through some freshy made pasta for a special meal.

Give it a go and you will not be disappointed.

Serves 4 to 6 (depending on usage)

Ingredients

1 kg chuck steak (sliced into thin strips)
1 large onion (sliced into rings)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 red capsicum (cut into thin strips)
800 grams of assorted mushrooms (sliced thickly)
2 cups shiraz wine
1 cup beef stock
400 grams diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

1. Season the sliced beef with some salt and pepper.
2. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a heavy based pan and heat and once hot begin to brown off the meat in 3 to 4 small batches. As each batch is browned remove and set aside browning the remaining beef strips – you may need to add more oil as you cook the various batches of beef.
3. Once all the beef is browned, add the remaining oil and place onions, garlic and capsicum into the pan and cook until the onion has commenced to become translucent – stir periodically to prevent sticking.
4. Add the mushrooms, basil, oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms softened and browned, then add the wine to the hot pan and deglaze the surface so that all the browning on the based of the pan is lifted and absorbed into the wine liquid.
5. Return the meat to the pan, add the beef stock, diced tomatoes and tomato paste and cook uncovered until the liquid comes to the boil, stirring occasionally.
6. Once the liquid and contents of the pan commence to boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Allow the contents to simmer for at least 1½ hours, so the liquid reduces by at least half and it thicken. The meat should be soft and fall apart easily.
7. Serve with some pasta, steamed or mashed vegetable or even with rice – a great comfort meal.

Notes
1. The greater the variety of mushrooms used the deeper the flavour of the dish. Further if you can add a few fresh or dried porcini mushrooms you will be well rewarded.
2. If you wish to give the dish a French rather than Italian flavour you can substitute the basil and oregano with thyme and bay leaf.
3. You can cook this in a casserole dish in the oven on low if you prefer – simply increase the cooking time by a further hour.