There is a place for Ragu. I could even make a case for it being THE way to prepare minced meat.
But, let’s be real here. There isn’t always time to prepare the ideal meal. We are mostly trying to juggle feeding our families healthy and reasonably price food with all the other important things that crop up daily. As I said earlier in the week, I’ve had a bit of a reality check over the last little while and so I’ll be concentrating on ‘Everyday Cooking’ more in the future.
This all came about when I realised that I had had an epic fail in preparing Soffrito for the week. There sat the carrots, onions and celery, looking a bit sad in the crisper. I’d already defrosted 500g of mince and I was really pushed for time so I chopped the onions roughly and tossed them in the frying pan (skillet) with a bare tablespoon of oil and fried them off while I chopped the vegetables and slid them into the slow cooker insert from the board.
It seemed sensible to make this a one pot meal anyway, so I added chopped potatoes, swede (rutabaga) and parsnips.
On the way through that, I broke up the mince and added it to the pan, stirring to break it up further.
200 ml of vegetable stock (what I happened to have defrosted but I would have used any stock) went into a pan to boil.
As the stock came to boil, I added the mince and onions to the pot and stripped a few thyme leaves off their stems into the pot, threw in a teaspoon of salt and about 8 twists of pepper, and poured over the stock.
Eight hours on slow and we had a warming and surprisingly tasty meal, served with some green vegetables ~ since I had time when we got in.
One meal that night.
A plate pie the next evening
And one meal frozen for another day. Not bad for 15 minutes work in the morning!
Preparation time :15 minutes
Cooking time : 8 hours
Difficulty? : Easy
Freezing? : Yes
Portions : 6
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic ~ optional
- 500g minced beef
- 3 carrots, chopped ~ don’t bother to peel.
- 3 sticks of celery, chopped
- 1 small ( or half a large) swede (rutabaga) peeled and chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped.
- 400g (or so) of potatoes, chopped ~ don’t bother to peel.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 twists of black pepper
- A few thyme leaves (or half a teaspoon of dried)
- 200ml stock
- Heat oil in frying pan.
- Brown the onion and the garlic for 5 minutes over low heat,
- Turn the heat up and brown the mince in the frying pan for around 5 minutes
- Chop your veg while the onions and mince are browning. Throw them into the slow cooker as you go along.
- Boil the stock.
- Add the mince and onion to the slow cooker.
- Season and add thyme
- Stir and pour over stock.
- Cook for 8 hours on low and serve.