This week's #CookClub recipe is Slow Cooker Beef Ragout.
First, let's talk about the name. "Ragout" is a French beef stew, but it's pronounced like the Italian meat sauce ragu. Similar ingredients are in both (onion, ground meat, tomato, red wine), but the result is vastly different. Ragu is normally served on pasta; ragout can be eaten with noodles or another starch, but it stands up fine on its own, too.
I've gotten a few requests from the #CookClub crowd to try a slow cooker recipe. I will admit that I am not in love with my slow cooker, because I find things tend to turn out the same. I use it for big pieces of meat that need long, slow cooking and occasionally chili. That's about it.
Part of my issue with the slow cooker is that I want something that can cook for nine or more hours, because that's at least how long I am at work. Not all recipes need that amount of time. Some are ready in just four.
Slow Cooker Beef Ragout simmers on low for seven hours and then another 45 minutes on high so that the zucchini and mushrooms added at the end don't cook to a pulp. I like that, because part of my dislike of slow-cooked food is that the ingredients are indistinguishable from each other.
I used a decent quality old-vine zinfandel and added a bit more meat. The finished dish was a hearty supper perfect for chillier weather. I am eager to hear how you'll make the recipe your own, because I know you will!
If you're participating in our online #CookClub, the key is to remember #CookClub because that's how you'll want to tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram with your comments. Photos and comments for the Beef Ragout are due by 6 p.m. Nov. 17. Some of the photos and comments will be printed in the Times food section on Nov. 20.
As part of the #CookClub conversation, join us from 7 to 8 p.m. every Thursday for a #CookClub chat on Twitter. On Thursday, we'll be talking about the results of our last recipe, Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Gruyere and Pecans.
It's been fun to see the different results through photos on Instagram and read comments from #CookClub. There's always someone going rogue!
Questions? Direct them to @roadeats on Twitter and tag them #CookClub or email to email@example.com.