Hearty chuck roast is braised with red wine and savory herbs to create this slow cooker beef ragu without much effort at all. It’s a warm and comforting pasta dish that will get you through a long, cold winter.
There’s something about the cold weather that just makes you crave hearty, warm meals, and this slow cooker beef ragu is one of my favorites. The sauce is very similar to a bolognese sauce, made with a mirepoix base, but it’s takes it to a whole new level by adding the slow cooked breakdown of a perfectly marbled chuck roast and a complex red wine (or beef broth if you don’t have it on hand).
To make this recipe, you need to first sear the beef. It’s the most important part for creating a complex flavor when you’re using a slow cooker (it’s what creates the maillard reaction). I like to liberally season my meat before I do. And, I’m not just talking about a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I like to create a pretty decent crust with the salt and pepper before searing it in a skillet over high.
Once you have your beef seared, it’s all about dumping the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker and waiting. The pasta gets cooked separately, but other than that, you’re basically just waiting to shred the meat once it’s broken down. The breakdown of the marbling (i.e. fats) takes a while, so don’t rush the recipe or you’ll end up discarding fatty bits when you’re shredding. It’s not a big deal if you do, but you want to avoid it as much as possible.
Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- Salt & black pepper
- 2 pounds chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 3/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine (or beef broth)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- Season beef liberally with salt & pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add to skillet and sear both sides until they easily release from pan.
- Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours (or high for 6 hours).