Beef Ragout. Recipe

Beef Ragout is a classic dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It is known for its rich flavors and hearty ingredients. This dish is believed to have originated in France during the 18th century. Ragout, pronounced as rah-goo, comes from the French word "ragouter," meaning "to stimulate the appetite." It was a popular dish among aristocrats and was often served at elaborate dinners.

One interesting fact about Beef Ragout is that it was often prepared using leftover meat. The dish was a way to make use of bits and pieces of beef that may otherwise have gone to waste. By slow cooking the meat and adding flavorful ingredients, the ragout would transform the leftover meat into a delectable and satisfying meal.

Now, let's dive into the recipe for Beef Ragout:

- 1 pound lean beef, well-cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons fat from smoked beef, lard the lean beef with it
- 2 cups good gravy or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 glass of port wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Mushroom ketchup to taste
- Forcemeat balls (optional)

1. Start by larding the lean beef with the fat from smoked beef. This will add extra flavor to the meat. If you don't have access to smoked beef fat, you can substitute with regular beef fat or omit this step altogether.

2. In a large pot, add the larded beef and pour in the good gravy or beef broth. Make sure the beef is fully submerged in the liquid. If needed, add more broth or water to cover the meat.

3. Season the gravy with allspice, cloves, black pepper, and salt. These spices will infuse the meat with their aromas and flavors. Feel free to adjust the amount of seasoning according to your taste preferences.

4. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium heat. Once it is simmering, reduce the heat to low and let the beef cook slowly for about 2-3 hours, or until it is tender and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

5. Once the meat is well done, remove it from the gravy and set it aside. Skim any fat or impurities from the gravy, ensuring it is clean and free from any particles.

6. To the cleaned gravy, add a glass of port wine, the juice of a lemon, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and a little mushroom ketchup. These ingredients will add depth and complexity to the sauce.

7. If desired, you can also add some small forcemeat balls to the gravy. These can be poached in the gravy while it cooks, adding extra flavor and texture to the dish.

8. Return the cooked beef to the pot and allow it to simmer in the sauce for an additional 10-15 minutes. This will help the flavors meld together and ensure the meat is fully coated in the savory sauce.

9. Once the Beef Ragout is ready, you can garnish the dish with the small forcemeat balls and arrange them around the serving dish. This will not only enhance the presentation but also add an extra layer of taste to the dish.

10. Beef Ragout is best served hot and can be accompanied by various side dishes such as mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.

Similar to Beef Ragout, there are other variations of ragout dishes. Some popular alternatives include Lamb Ragout, Chicken Ragout, and Vegetable Ragout. These dishes often follow a similar cooking method, but with different meat or vegetable choices. Each variation brings its own unique flavors to the table, allowing you to explore a wide range of options when it comes to creating a satisfying and hearty ragout.



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