Slow cooked beef ragu

image1Serves – 8 hungry adults 

Cost per portion– roughly £2.06 per portion


Ox tail- 1kg (cost just over £11)

2x carrots 

1x celery stick

Handful of porridge oats 

Bay leaf

Salt and pepper 

Flour for dusting ox tail 

Knob of butter 

3x garlic cloves 

Glass of red wine 

Handful of frozen spinach

Tin of chopped tomatoes

Pasta (of your choice but a fettuccine is the best) 


This beef ragu is a real treat meal in our house, so is more expensive than our normal meals, however at just over £2 per portion, it’s still doling pretty well. The addition of oats is also a really good way to bulk this out.

Firstly you need to finely dice your celery and carrots.. try and chop them so they are roughly the same size, this will mean they cook consistently. In a heavy bottom casserole dish add a generous knob of butter and start to fry your celery and carrots. This is probably the most important part of the recipe.. you need to seriously let them sweat, and this could take you up to 20-25 mins! Do not skimp on this! Add your garlic about half way through.

In a separate frying pan, dust your ox tail in flour, season with salt and pepper and then fry in butter until all the ox tail is browned all over.

Once your celery and carrots are completely soft add in a handful of porridge oats.. this helps thicken the sauce and also makes this meal go that bit further. Saute your oats/ celery/ carrot mix before adding in the browned ox tail. Add your glass of red, a tin of tomatoes, a bay leaf, enough water to just cover the meat, season well with salt and pepper then bring up to a boil. Once it is just at boiling point, turn it down to a gentle simmer and leave it for about 2 hours until the meat is tender and coming away from the bones – if it needs longer to tenderise, give it exactly that.


Once you are happy with the meat, remove it from the dish and take it off the bones (that’s if it hasn’t already fallen off, if so you’ll need to fish it out of the sauce). When you only have sauce left, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid bu roughly 1/3, or to the consistency of pasta sauce. In a separate dish, put salted water on to boil and cook your pasta. Once the sauce has thickened, re-add the meat and serve. Add parmesan if you have any. 

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