Lamb and Red Wine Ragu
Sometimes I can be a bit goofy when thinking about anniversaries. I have a weird memory and I recall milestones of the oddest events. For instance, I dislike driving on the day marking the anniversary of my first flat tire, I eat sushi every year on the day commemorating the first time I had sushi, and I always try to spend time with my close friends on our friendiversaries.
I recently celebrated a year of having my Dutch oven in my life. Enamel coated cast iron was one of the best additions to my kitchen and it’s come in very handy during the cold winter and fall months. I love dishes made in a Dutch oven since, for the most part, they tend to be relatively simple. Most of the time you start by browning proteins and vegetables, covering in a liquid, and simmering stovetop or baking in the oven for hours on end. While making these dishes isn’t a fast process, the majority of the cook time is hands-off. Best of all you sit back and enjoy the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen as food slowly cooks.
While I’ve already shared a 6-Hour, Lamb and Short Rib Ragu (which I declared one of the best things I’ve ever made), here’s another ragu! Is this one better? Not necessarily better, but just as good. It’s equally delicious and despite having similar ingredients (lamb, wine, and tomato), this recipe manages to be incredibly different. Red wine gives it a decidedly different taste than white wine (slightly bolder and fruitier) and the addition of aromatics (rosemary and thyme [both of which hold up very well when cooked for long periods of time]) give the dish an earthy, herbaceous, slightly piney and peppery taste.
I made this to serve with sweet potato gnocchi (after seeing a similar sounding dish on the specials board of one of my favorite restaurants). The light sweetness of the gnocchi was a great juxtaposition to the richness of the ragu. If you’re not up for making gnocchi, this was also delicious served over pasta. If anything ragu improves on the second day as the flavors have melded together and leftovers also freeze quite nicely, so no need to worry if this isn’t all served on the day it’s made.
Adapted form The Kitchn
- 2 pounds stew lamb, cut in chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 onions
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 big carrot, peeled
- Olive oil
- 2 cups red wine (I used a Zinfandel, but use any red wine you enjoy drinking)
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano diced)
Pat the lamb chunks dry with a paper towel and liberally coat with salt and pepper, set aside. Peel and coarsely chop the onions, mince garlic, finely chop carrot, remove thyme and rosemary from stems and finely chop.
Place a Dutch oven or an ovenproof heavy pot over medium-high heat, and add olive oil to cover the bottom thinly. When oil is hot, add the lamb and brown, working in batches if necessary. You want the lamb to get nicely browned on all sides.
When the meat is thoroughly browned, add the onions. Lower the heat, and cook slowly over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are golden. Add the rosemary, thyme, garlic, and the carrots. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add wine and simmer until liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer, then cover and place in a 275-degree oven for 3 to 4 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it will be. When ready to serve, go through with two forks and shred any remaining chunks of meat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.
Serve with sweet potato gnocchi or pasta.