Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Melt In Your Mouth Beef Ragout

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This is going to be the best beef ragout you'll ever make and ever eat. I promise you that! My two judges at home promise you that! Jamie promises you that!

Although we are full blown into the summer with temperatures hitting over 30 degrees C, when I set eyes on this recipe I knew there was no waiting till the seasons changed where a dish like this would be more appropriate in the cooler months.



No, this could not wait. I needed to make it as soon as I read it. It put me in a trance and I just could not stop thinking about it. My thoughts would wander to the ingredients and to the cooking method. I kept wondering if I added this or that how would it taste. See that is the effect this wonderful cookbook has on me at the moment. I am, of course, talking about Jamie Oliver's Cook With Jamie (not available in the USA yet). I raved about the book when I first tried that amazing trout and after this rich ragout I was addicted.

The flavors of this dish are incredibly intense, the meat is unbelievably soft, the sauce deliciously rich and together it melts in your mouth in perfect harmony.

For a change I am not going to go on here and get straight to the recipe. Just remember: as soon as you read this, a supernatural urge to savor the flavors of the dish will take over and you will not be able to think about anything else (vegetarians not included).

I did make a few changes to the recipe, nothing too drastic, as we are not too hot on celery, I substituted it with parsnip.



Melt in Your Mouth Beef Ragout
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Cook With Jamie

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Ingredients

1 kg beef brisket - try getting organic beef, removing as much fat from the piece and cut into approx. 5 cm cubes
2 cans (each 400 g) good quality tomatoes
2 red onions - coarsely diced
3 carrots - coarsely diced
3 parsnips - coarsely diced
4-6 garlic cloves - unpeeled
a few rosemary twigs
2 dried bay leaves
1 handful dried porcini
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon flour
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 l Chianti
Olive oil




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Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. In a large, heavy, oven-proof casserole dish or pot add a good squirt of olive oil and allow to get hot. Add the onions, carrots, parsnip, garlic, herbs, porcini and the cinnamon and sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softer.

In the meantime place the flour in a ziploc bag and add the beef cubes, which you generously salted and peppered before. Close the bag and give it a good shake so that the meat is lightly coated with the flour.

Add the meat to the vegetables and stir together. Add the tomatoes, wine and more salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir and bring to a boil.

Cover the casserole with extra-strong aluminum foil and then place the lid firmly on top. Put into the oven and leave to simmer for approx. 3 hours. Resist yourself from opening the lid and peeling the foil back to taste. It'll be hard because the aromas that fill your kitchen will be irresistible - but please do try. It'll keep all those yummy flavors sealed in the ingredients.

When it's done the meat should be extremely tender and you should be able to cut through it with a spoon. Remove the bay leaves, rosemary and cinnamon stick.

Serve immediately.




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Verdict
We had this just the way Jamie suggests - with mashed potatoes and fresh baby spinach that I lightly sautéed. Both Tom and Soeren were lured into the kitchen by the aroma of the ragout long before it was finished. They kept asking "What is that?" "It smells great!" "Can we peak and have a tiny taste?" It did get a bit tiresome but when we all sat at the dinner table we were all looking forward to this so much we actually had to take a few deep breaths to relax and stop ourselves from gorging it down.
It was everything I had expected and more. It melted in the mouth and the flavors in this are indescribable ... you'll just have to go and make it yourself to see what I mean.

You'll love every bite - I promise!


Reminder!


A few of those ice-creams are looking good. Send me your creation for July's MM - Scream For Ice Cream over to me soon.
Deadline is July 4th!






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24 comments :

  1. The supernatural urge to try your ragout has taken over me Meeta. I am sold and I will try it as soon as I can even if it 34C outside.

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  2. Oh wow - this does look great. I would eat it in the middle of the summer - in fact, I had soup for lunch today and it is near 100F!! I am definitely going to bookmark this one!

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  3. since i turned vegetarian, i won't be trying this. but i've gotta say, there's no one like jamie oliver. that guy just blows my socks away.

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  4. Lovely ragout!

    I am not a big fan of Jamie Oliver, and his recipes do not work out that well for me. (Different palate I believe!). But I am glad you like his recipe!

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  5. Deep, dark, rich, rustic and flavourful - this is too tempting Meeta.

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  6. I'd usually think of this as a winter dish, but the weather turned a bit cool tonight, so as I'm reading this recipe I'm thinking "yum."

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  7. I'm all for beef stews in early summer (says a girl who happily cooks osso buco in May:)
    Looks delicious!

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  8. Oh yes, I am sure I love it, and the family did too. Think this is published in Jamies dinners as well. Sure success!

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  9. And to think I came just this close to getting this book when we were in London last week. The bags were already bursting.
    So good. Have to hold you to your promise!

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  10. Meeta! That looks fantastic! I love these slow-cooked tender-meat dishes...both the eating and the cooking :) I have been eyeing that book for a while now...have to get it soon! :)

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  11. You're right.. I don't want to wait until Autumn to get here to try this.. it looks that good!

    Question though - Hubbs distinctly hates cinnamon. I love it but am not too sure about pairing it with beef.. can you tell me how potent is it in this dish and if I were to leave it out, would it matter much?

    Beautiful pictures sweetie!
    xoxo

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  12. You folks will love it. I know it is an Autumn/Winter type of dish but do it now and you will not regret it.

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Lis I know what you mean about the cinnamon, even Tom is the same way. But I asked him to be daring just this once and he loved it. It is not very potent in the dish, but you do have that slight taste at the back of the taste buds, you know what I mean? Someone very finicky might certainly notice it as cinnamon, otherwise it's just another great flavor. If it really is a huge bother - then leave it out. But I do really want to urge you to check with Hubbs, because it adds so much to the beef - it's a fantastic new taste.
    Let me know how it went. I am soooo curious!!

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  13. My husband will be all over this...thanks!

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  14. Well that's a great review for Jamie's recipe, I'll mark it to try! Looks so comforting and good.

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  15. Hi Meeta, I love your site and I must say you are a very creative, enterprising, fun and original. Simply put you come across as an amazing person. I just had this to say, I'm sorry about this but I couldnt stop myself from saying it. Being an Indian you know that cows are revered in India and are compared to a mother because the milk and byproducts of milk they give sustains a human. Please consider giving up beef, if not turning a vegetarian. Spare a thought to the agony, trauma and fear that the poor animal would undergo to land up on your dinner table after giving milk in its hey days. Is it not brutal exploitation?

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  16. Anon Thank for your feedback, While I understand your point and can relate to where you are coming from, you also need to understand that I do make the right choices as to where food is concerned. I often wonder why when people leave such comments on my blog they hide behind the anonymoous curtain. I also wonder why I am forced to explain the choices I make in life.

    We do eat beef - we make sure we always buy organic beef - from cows who have lived on green pastures and were bred to give meat. We do not eat beef on a regular basis but enjoy it every now and then.

    I respect the Hindu religion and all it's traditions, but I am not Hindu. I honor the fact that in the Hindu religion it is considered a sacred animal - and would never dream of asking a Hindu or a vegetarian to eat beef. Why is it that most vegetarians tend to be so militant and force their opinions on non-veg people?

    Whatever happend to live and let live? That'a my motto in life - you should try living by that too! Life becomes more fun!

    Once again thank you for your opinion.

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  17. You and I seem to be agreeing on one thing. Live and let live. :) Y kill an innocent animal just because it doesnt have a voice and becuase it is less powerful than us and cannot defend itself?

    It is not a question of religion but of universal love and brotherhood and simply loving our lesser fortunate brethren, the poor animals.

    Will keeping an animal in a good environment take away the pain at the time of slaughter? And is keeping an animal happy with the motive of killing it in the end justified?

    I'm not being militant or trying to prove a point or out to make people change themselves in terms of their food leanings. Ultimately we have the freedom to make the different choices that we do in life.
    I'm sorry if I have irked you in any way.
    Jiva

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  18. Jiva, you have not irked me in any way. I am a pretty easy going person and find that such discussions an enrichment.

    I can understand from where you are coming from. However, this topic is rather tedious. Many vegetarians or vegans judge me for the food choices I make. This type of attitude only comes from veg/vegans towards non-veg people. A non-veg person would never really ask a veg person to try a bit of meat. Why is that? Why are we put in a box and labeled animal killers or haters simply because we have made the choice to eat meat?

    To be honest Jiva in our household we do have a largely vegetarian diet (I'd say about about 70 - 75%), and I plan my meals in view of heath, nutrition and well-balanced dishes. Meat plays a role in this planning.

    Your argument about hurting/being cruel an animal during slaughter does not really work here, because, at least in Germany, organic also means slaughtering animals in a way that they are not put through the pain.

    It is honorable for you that you choose to live the way you do. I cannot judge and will not judge. But I do not think my choice of eating meat makes me any worse.

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  19. I came across this recipe on tastespotting, and though I'm a vegetarian I visited the page because I thought it sounded like something my parents would love. This is the first time I've ever felt the urge to leave a comment on a blog like this, but I just want to say that Jiva's attitude frustrates me as a vegetarian. Everyone is entitled to make their own choices in life and it's highly inappropriate to try and force your beliefs on another person. Not all vegetarians act this way, a small number of extremists give us laid back vegheads a bad name. ;)

    Now I'm off to send this link to my mom - I think she'll love it. I on the other hand will be eating potato-leek soup this evening. :D

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  20. D - Thanks for your sentiments and I really appreciate the support!

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  21. What a lovely recipe. I'm going to give it a go tomorrow. Have you ever tried it with a dollop of creme fraiche on top? or do you think it would dilute the richness too much? Ty

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  22. Meeta:

    Just so you know, since reading this two years ago this has become one of my signature dishes. I LOVE this meal beyond sense and logic. It is one of my favourite things to prepare and people go mad for it. Thanks you for the wonderful blog@

    Happy Holidays,
    Eve

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  23. Meeta, I got here randomly, I found this amazing recipe, I tried it yesterday and as you say - i loved every bite of it! Thank you!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta