thick and hearty lamb ragu

thick and hearty lamb ragu

Who in their right mind makes a long-simmering lamb ragu in July? Well, I guess that would be me. Me who lives in a city with just two seasons – Spring (Warm) and Summer (Boiling Hot). Me who makes cold noodle salad in January and lamb ragu in July. Maybe you can bookmark this for Fall?

A good ragu is made from simple ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. Because the ingredients are so simple, it’s key that they’re good quality. Good olive oil, produce, garlic, tomatoes and meat. Throw it all in a pot and let it simmer slowly for a couple of hours until the meat falls apart and everything melds together into something deliciously comforting. A ragu is the perfect Sunday supper.

I made this for my easy, no-machine orecchiete but it’s perfect over any kind of hearty pasta or grain. And it’s even better when followed immediately by a nap.

On that note, recipes will be scarce for a bit because I’ll be exploring the Pacific Northwest with Tom. (I’ve even made a spreadsheet of all the restaurants we want to hit up.) So, I’ll post a sweet treat next week, but I won’t be as post-y as usual.

Lamb Ragu

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. pieces of lamb (I used boneless shoulder chops)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup red wine
28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano tomatoes)
coarse salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium. Once it’s hot add the olive oil. Season the lamb with salt and sear it in the olive oil, allowing for about 5 minutes per side. You want a nice, brown char on the meat.

Remove the lamb and add the onions and carrots. Sautee for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the onions just begin to get translucent. Add the meat back in and cover with remaining ingredients. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce it to low and let simmer for about an hour.

After the hour (or 2 – whatever works for you) passes, remove the lamb to a plate. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart to a shred (like pulled pork). Once all of the lamb is shredded, add it back to the pot and simmer for at least another 30 minutes.

Ladle over pasta and sprinkle with freshly ground Parmesan cheese.

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16 Comments

  1. Hey Melissa,
    Mind reporting on the NW restaurants you hit? I’m a Portlander and I’m curious to discover what non-P-towners think of our scene!

  2. VCK – Of course! Any recommendations?

  3. This is making me hungry. I’ve been bookmarking pretty much all of your recipes!

  4. Lamb ragu in the summer? Sure, why not? It’s going to be good right now because we’ve had three straight days of rain.

  5. lekkecraft – thanks! I’m honored :)

    js – I’ll be in Vancouver next weekend and am looking forward to the cool weather!

  6. I’d love to see the list of restaurants and foodshops too – heading to Portland and Seattle at the end of the month and I’m starting to try and compile my own list….

  7. I love lamb, I don’t care what season it it. This looks delicious, consider it book marked!

  8. That looks really tasty!

  9. hey! haha, what an awesome name for a blog! I grew up in Miami and miss it sooo badly. Now I’m in DC and have no beach to escape to :(
    I could totally see myself blasting the ac and digging into a hearty bowl of lamb ragu though

  10. I could do with something good and simple like this right now, just to straighten my head a bit.

    Looks fantastic.

  11. Mel – Love your blog – getting ready to post on a version of your grilled corn salad I made yesterday!

    Also love the ragu but have two questions: do you think this recipe would work in a crock pot (so as not to heat up a summer kitchen in another boiling hot place) and would pork work in place of lamb (just because that is what I have on hand)…

    Thank you! /td

  12. TD – glad you liked the corn salad :)

    A crockpot would be perfect here. You can also sub pork, beef or veal for the lamb and it’ll be equally tasty!

  13. Hi there. I came your way through Practical Gourmet & love your site. Ya know, I never care what time of year it is. I hear people say they don’t use their oven or stove in the summer but it just never dawned on me to care about that. And I live in FL!!! Really love your photos and unique recipes!!!

  14. i made this last night and it was very good, a bit sweeter than i expected, but the sweetness was balanced by the parmesan. the meat i got was a little on the lean side after i got done boning and trimming so i would add more next time, and i threw in a little tomato paste to thicken it up, which worked nicely. i served it over a whole wheat pasta (i tried the orichettes and it didnt work out) and found my major problem with this dish was conceptual. i have had many meat sauces over pasta, chicken, beef, seafood, but realized i have never had a pork or lamb sauce and i had some trouble wrapping my brain around it. this is my deficiency, not the recipes. i think next time i do this dish i might go with tasted garlic bruchetta. overall this was delicious, i love your blog, and i am going for that pork with prunes next.

  15. Pingback: Pressure Cooker Pork Ragu | bitchincamero

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