Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recipe: California Ragù

I know, corn is not a traditional meat ragù component (and I was already picturing throngs of Italian grandmothers screaming obscenities at me as I added it into the sauce,) but I personally love the color and flavor these golden nuggets of sweetness contribute, balancing the tomato's acidity, crushed chili flakes' heat and the earthy-savory combination of beef, onions and mushrooms. And to give it a good measure of sophistication, a healthy dose of Port to add some complexity to the whole affair without having to wait for it to reduce like one would with red wine.

I figured if I added California as an adjective to this dish, anything goes right? (Sorry if you came here thinking I'd add avocados to the recipe; I haven't... yet.)

Corniness aside (and you're free to omit them if you want to, but don't knock it till you've tried it), this is a supremely easy but deeply satisfying one-pan wonder, and perfect for those times when you want something comforting without wanting to put in a lot of effort. It takes under 45 minutes from start to finish, and most of that is just stirring & adding of ingredients. And I'd wager someone better at multi-tasking than I am can get this done in half an hour.
My personal preference for eating this ragù is with rice, which soaks up the flavors beautifully while still retaining their fluffy texture. But feel free go traditional and use it to top some pasta, or even on its own with some shredded cheese on top and crusty bread on the side.

California Ragù
Serves 4-6

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85/15 chuck)
  • 6 ounces diced white onions
  • 6 ounces diced white mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons garlic-infused oil (alternatively, regular olive oil & 2 minced cloves of garlic)
  • 3 ounces Port wine
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 cup of fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels (drained if canned)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat up 2 teaspoons of garlic oil over high heat; add onions and start sauteing them for 2 minutes, then add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft (approx. another 3-5 minutes.)
  2. Add the other 2 teaspoons of garlic oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and beef; stirring (and break up the beef) until the meat is mostly browned.
  3. Turn heat to medium low and add tomatoes, Port, ketchup, corn and chili flakes. Stir to incorporate and let it simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add and stir in corn starch, let it simmer for another minute then serve.

1 comment:

  1. I really, really want this in my mouth right now. It's so chilly outside!