Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Ultimate Five-Hour Meat Ragu

My weekend of fall recipes continues with this ridiculously comforting ragu. Yep, I was browning meet in my pajamas at eight this morning and I loved every second of it. Went to Yountville for the day and came home to the best smelling house.
Don't be intimidated by the whole five-hour business. It's just a bunch of simple steps to rich, ragu heaven. Happy braising!

The Ultimate Five-Hour Meat Ragu
Recipe from


  • 1 pound lamb shoulder chops (or lamb necks)
  • 1 pound pork spareribs
  • 1 pound beef short ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 5 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • A healthy grating of nutmeg
  • 1 – 2 cups white wine
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce can plain tomato sauce
  • Handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped


  1. Pat the meat dry with paper towels; season with salt. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot (I used my Dutch oven)–enough to coat the bottom–until very hot. Brown the meat in batches on all sides, taking your time (lower the heat if it’s browning too fast) until you have a big pile of beautifully golden brown meat. Set aside.
  2. Add a little more oil to the pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and anchovies. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Add the wine and cook for about 3 minutes, letting the alcohol evaporate.
  3. Return the meat to the pot and add the crushed tomatoes, the tomato sauce and 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer the ragu for about 3 hours, stirring from time to time and adding more water if it gets too thick.
  4. Remove all the meat from the pot with a pair of tongs and when it’s cool enough to handle, shred the meat, getting rid of any bones or gristle. Return the shredded meat to the pot and stir. Simmer for another 2 hours, adding water if the sauce gets too thick. Just before serving, add parsley. And a sprinkling of Parmesan, even though it’s not on the ingredient list. (We served ours over some thick, chewy rigatoni. I added a ladle of pasta water to the ragu before tossing with the rigatoni.)