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Danchaq's Ragu



I don’t use a strict recipe per se for my ragu, just adapt the approach I’ve refined over the years. The basic sketch would be something like the following…

Sweat down diced onions, carrots, celery. Set aside.
Brown meat, in batches if necessary.
Add veg and some milk (100ml?) and reduce down
Season with salt, pepper and a scrape of nutmeg. Add a tin of tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato paste and 1/3 bottle of red wine or so. Also add chopped reconstituted dried mushrooms and their liquor.
Cover, reduce and simmer 90 mins to 2 hrs, taking the lid off at the end to get desired consistency.

For meat usually have some pork product (e.g. smoked pancetta lardons) along with the main meat. This time it was a pound of minced beef from my butcher, which is dry aged. Plus maybe 100g of minced pork and 3 chicken livers (1-2 would have been better).

Vague, which might explain the wide variance between batches! :-p

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When do you put in the liver? Do you scrape it?


I took out the sinew, chopped it up, and browned it lightly with the batches of meat.


very tempted to put this up as a separate recipe post - I’m looking for inspiration in my cooking just now and these sort of wine-driven ideas are very tempting


what wine did you use? Sorry, it is not meant as an interrogation, just very curious. Personally I think the Aglianico you drank would have also been perfect (I know there is a dedicated thread).

@robert_mcintosh I think it is a good idea for a topic, also thinking cooking could be a category (like restaurants and food matching)… or a tag (like discovery)


@szaki1974 I couldn’t tell you about the wine used in the sauce, it came from my freezer and I made it a few months ago. I don’t have ‘cooking wine’ per se, but tend to use something medium bodied from the glugging end of my wine rack.

@robert_mcintosh Agreed… food and wine are so related, I’d love to hear what others are cooking too.


Love the sound of your ragu! I’m very tempted to swap out the red to dry white though after a french recipe i tried for a bouef daube which gave a huge lift (though that was a pot roast beef marinated in the wine overnight…it was so alcoholic. And amazing)

Loving the addition of the milk.

This week i shall be doing a roast chicken with herb butter and a creamy, wild mushroom sauce with this beauty…rich, sumptuous and complex and really gave the puligny montrachet at TWS summer fine wine tasting a run for its money

(Thorne & Daughters rocking horse chenin, semillon, chardonnay, sauvignon blend)

If anyone has any tips on using dried mushrooms feel free to mention it please :slight_smile:


Meat for me is 50/50 pork and beef. I’d also use white wine in a ragu. I don’t add mushrooms.


If you mean in a ragu, I’d steep the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes or so, drain (reserving the liquor, which I’d add with/soon after the wine), slice if not already sliced, and add to the ragu when everything is set to simmer.

If you mean more generally, I buy dried shiitakes by the kilo from the local Asian supermarket and pickle them a la momofuku:


They are delicious on everything, and by themselves. Would no doubt perk up a ragu as well (not that Danchaq’s needs perking up- sounds great).


Love this wine. Immensely well put together and was definitely one of the best whites I tasted last year.


In a sauce, was planning on hydrating, pan frying with onion, adding stock, cream and finishing with tarragon. I have trompette, morels and forest mix. The rest will go in my own ragu :slight_smile:


I’m sure that would be good, though frying hydrated mushrooms can be a bit of a struggle to get them to colour. If you fancied an alternative as food for thought, seriouseats is very reliable:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/02/mushroom-gravy-sauce-recipe.html - and I’m sure adding a dash of cream and some tarragon would be lovely.

Full story here:


Yep white wine works a treat. My personal preference is red with beef and white with veal, but for me the key is having at least (if not more) wine than tomatoes. And actually on that note, when I make it with veal I skip tomatoes altogether and use veal stock.

As for the milk, it does something to the texture and for some reason seems to keep the meat softer. I add the milk and reduce until it is pretty much gone before deglazing with the wine.


I think I’ll try something similar (or completely different) with ox heart and beef shin… I think red wine. It is the liver that got me thinking, the offal must give another dimension to any meat ragu. Not sure about cooking liver too long, hence going for the jugular heart. I also prefer chopped meat to mince in a ragu… or a combination.


Ooo that sounds good! Yes, I keep meaning to make one with beef short ribs but haven’t remembered at the right time. If you use some heart, let us know how it goes…


Wow that guy loves mushrooms! I’ll reconstitute in stock, chop up then really hot pan to try and colour + shallots then deglaze with wine, reduce, add stock, reduce, add the cream and tarragon, simmer for 3-5 mins.

It’s that or the mushrooms in a decadent dauphinoise.

Thanks @danchaq!