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Best-ever beef ragu recipe

Our editor Chad January shares his failproof and delicious beef ragu recipe 

Best-ever beef ragu 

Makes about 2L 

Traditionally beef chuck is used for ragu, but we’ve opted to save on cost (not flavour) by using beef mince. 


Glug olive oil 
3 onions, chopped 
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced 
3-4 carrots, peeled and cubed 
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped 
2kg beef mince 
50g tomato paste 
2 Tbsp brown sugar 
2 Tbsp paprika 
1 cup red wine 
3 cups tomato passata 
1 can (410g) chopped tomatoes 
4-5 cups beef stock 
2-3 fresh or dried bay leaves 
Handful fresh thyme, stems included Handful fresh basil, stems included + extra for serving 
Salt and milled pepper 
Lemon juice, to taste (optional)  


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. 
  2. Add onions and sweat for about 5 minutes or until translucent. (The heat should be low enough so that the onions do not brown). 
  3. Up the heat slightly and add celery and carrots. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring often. 
  4. Stir through garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Turn the heat to medium-high (add another glug of oil if necessary) and add mince, stirring to break up any clumps that may form.  
  6. Brown mince for about 8-10 minutes. 
  7. Stir through tomato paste, sugar and paprika and cook for a further 3-5 minutes. 
  8. Pour in wine and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until alcohol has evaporated. 
  9. Tip in tomato passata, chopped tomatoes, stock and herbs, then stir to combine. Season. 
  10. Lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook gently for about 1 ½-2 hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes until meat is tender and sauce has reduced and thickened. 
  11. Remove and discard whole herbs, then add a squeeze of lemon juice, if needed. 
  12. Finish off with an extra scattering of chopped fresh basil. 


Words by: Chad January
Photo: Zhann Solomons 

Also read: Pulled beef brisket pie

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