Festive food for friends…


Pot roast beef ragu is a simple dish that really does look after itself in the oven.

You could make it the day before to allow the flavours to develop overnight

Ready in 3 hours, serves 8



1kg brisket of beef

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, finely chopped 2 carrots, finely chopped

1 bulb fennel, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or a good pinch of dried

200ml red wine

4 tbsp tomato purée

pared piece of lemon and orange peel

400ml beef stock 400ml milk


1 Preheat the oven to 160 ̊C/ 140 ̊C fan/Gas 3. Season the beef well and drizzle with a little of the oil. Heat a casserole dish or ovenproof pan over a high heat and sear the beef all over until nicely browned. Set to one side.

2 Add the remaining oil to the same dish with the onion, celery, carrots and fennel, and gently cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the wine, bay leaves and oregano and bubble rapidly for two minutes. Add the tomato purée, zests, stock and milk – for richness – and bring to the boil. Stir and then return the beef to the pan.

3 Cover and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove the lid and cook for another 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut the beef into thick slices, pull apart with forks and stir into the sauce. Serve with cooked pasta or gnocchi and plenty of grated Parmesan.



You could use 500g each of minced beef and minced pork – at least 10 per cent fat

– in this dish, browning off before carrying on with step two


Recipe by Catherine Hill

Photography by Terry Benson

Styling by Luis Peral

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