Do you like this? Huh? You do, don’t you? And it is a little confusing, isn’t it? Is that breakfast colliding with dinner? Just a bit, but as a flavour and texture combination, it is sensational.
Let me tell you how to spend a glorious weekend afternoon. Maybe one with the rain dragging outside, better again, a day with that horizontal rain that drives into your face and makes the outdoors utterly inhospitable. One of those days that is best approached in pyjamas and a big jumper, slippers and no desire to do anything but stay inside. A day, like this one, is a day for ragu.
A slow cooked ragu is a tremendous pleasure. It is the perfect way to spend such an idle afternoon. Your ragu cooks slowly, and melts into itself, while you watch a film or read a book, and have a glass (or two) of wine. This ragu is gorgeous, succulent, rich and yielding. Spiked with gremolata (garlic, parsley and lemon zest, all chopped very fine and mixed together), the whole thing jumps to life in an instant. I make a big batch, and eat the leftovers with papardelle, in a pie, or on toast.
If you are still conflicted by ragu with waffles, think chicken and waffles, that Harlem dish of yore and still very popular in the US of A. Waffles don’t have to be sweet, and these raised waffles have the same amount of sugar as salt for a batter that will make at least 8 – 10 waffles, just a teaspoon. Their crisp fluffiness is perfect with ragu. It is such a soulful dinner.
Enjoy, and do tell me how you like it. All comments are read, and answered :)
Lets do this!
Note: only use a wine that you would drink for cooking. Bad wine makes for bad sauce, don’t do it.
Recipe: Raised Waffles with Beef and Mushroom Ragu
Serves 4 (but make for one or two, and freeze the leftovers, or eat the next day. You won’t regret it)
the waffle batter needs to be left overnight but cooks in minutes, the ragu takes 3.5 hours
Beef and Mushroom Ragu
800g beef shin, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
150g smoked streaky bacon or pancetta, chopped into small dice
2 banana shallots, finely diced
2 bay leaves
400g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light oil for frying
500ml beef or chicken stock
250ml full bodied red wine (I used chianti)
a pinch of nice chilli like pasilla or chipotle (or whatever you can get)
Gremolata – 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped), finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
Waffles – please follow the recipe in the previous post, allowing overnight time for the batter to raise. Cook them in the last half an hour of the recipe and keep warm in the oven, or prepare in advance and reheat as you need them in a frying pan or in the oven.
Dust the diced beef in flour and brown over a medium heat in 1 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp oil in two batches. If you fry it all together it will just stew and not brown, unless you have a very big pan.
Put the beef to the side, and saute the diced bacon until starting to crisp. Leave to the side with the beef.
Saute the carrots and shallots over a low – medium heat in another tbsp of butter and oil until starting to soften (about 8 – 10 minutes). Add the garlic for a minute, and then add the beef, bacon, chilli, red wine and bay leaves. Increase the heat to drive out the alcohol and after a couple of minutes, add the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 2.5 hours.
I cook the mushrooms separately in butter at this point, as I think mushrooms and butter are a glorious combination. Saute them with the remaining butter and oil until starting to soften, then add them to the ragu and cook for another 15 minutes.
Prepare your gremolata in this time by preparing and combining all ingredients.
Taste your ragu. At this point the meat should be very tender, if it isn’t give it a bit longer. Season with sea salt as appropriate and serve on hot waffles with gremolata on top (as per the picture).
Enjoy! This makes a great brunch, or supper.