Lamb or Beef Red Wine Ragout

Lamb or Beef Red Wine Ragout   serves 3-4
No gluten or dairy; low grain

Deep, dark substantial notes. Yet so easily done for all this rich reward. Many slow cooking cuts can be used to melt into submission. Stewing cuts such as lamb shoulder or beef blade are good options; they are cheaper and have more flavour. I was more adventurous and used sheep heart. All are top sources of several B vitamins including B12 (which has no active and thus absorbable plant sources) and highly absorbable iron and zinc.

“Rah-goo” is a French term for a thick stew of meat or fish – with or without vegetables. Serve with a vegetable mash such as kumara, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin and garlic. Steam, then coarsely mash with preferred milk option, olive oil, Harker or Pacific Harvest sea salt with kelp. Yum.

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil*
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp caraway
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika*
400 gram lamb shoulder or other stewing lamb or beef cut, or sheep heart
¼ cup red wine, shiraz is ideal
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup no-added-sugar cherry jam* (eg St Dalfour)
¼ cup tamari soy sauce*
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1½ Tbsp rice flour*

Slice the meat into small, about 20 mm pieces for quicker cooking. Bring to room temperature.

In a broad-base pan, over low medium heat, gently cook the oil, onion, caraway and paprika for a few minutes to soften the onion and toast the spices (this amplifies their flavour). Stir in the meat and cook 3 minutes or more to flavour.

Stir in the wine, vinegar, tomato paste, jam, tamari, sage and thyme. Bring to a boil then turn to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook about 1 hour until meat is very tender.

Remove ¼ cup or more of sauce. With a fork, beat in rice flour. Whisk this into the saucepan and stir to thicken. Cook one minute or more and serve.

Shopping & Preparation Tips*

• Jam/Marmalade: buy jam and marmalade made from fruit with only fruit juice as a sweetener, and no artificial additives. The St Dalfour brand is available in supermarkets.

• Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my TIPS article: The Fats of Life.

• Paprika: only use top quality smoky, sweet Spanish paprika such as La Chinata. This is sold in small decorative tins in the supermarket. Ordinary paprika is usually stale, pale and without the punchy vigour this product contributes.

• Rice flour: for baking use finely ground (can be called ‘zentrofan’) whole rice. Results will not be the same with coarse, gritty flour; or Asian rice flour (from starch only; looks sticky like cornflour*). Use brown rice flour (finely milled; not gritty). Or mix ½ brown rice flour (for increased nutrients); ½ white rice flour (for increased lightness) as preferred. For sauces 2-3 Tbsp thickens 1 cup liquid.

• Soy sauce/Tamari: can be a fake, unfermented concoction of caramel colouring, artificial additives, wheat and cheap salt. True soy sauce contains nothing artificial and is naturally brewed for two to three years. It is made by fermenting soybeans with the help of a healthful mould (similar to making yoghurt or cheese); roasted grain – usually wheat or barley – for flavour and fermentation, plus salt. ‘Shoyu’ is the Japanese word for true fermented soy sauce. ‘Tamari’ describes naturally brewed soy sauce which does not contain wheat or other grain. In the supermarket look for organic Ceres brand, or plain only Kikkoman (their other varieties often contain artificial additives including MSG: TIPS).

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