Sicilian Beef Ragout

This recipe was developed to accompany the dense, earthy wines of Sicily, specifically the ones made with the grape known as nero d’Avola. It is a hearty beef ragout enriched with the wine, fresh herbs, olives, chiles and tomatoes, roasted to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavor. Like most treasures of the stew pot, the dish benefits from a rest and a reheat. If you store the tomatoes in a microwave-safe container, they can be warmed with a 30-second zap.

Ingredients

  • 12 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 pounds beef chuck in 2-inch chunks
  • ½ cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • ½ cup finely chopped leeks (white only)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 12 large Sicilian green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 ½ cups robust red wine
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 3 branches fresh rosemary
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      454 calories; 19 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 11 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 51 grams protein; 142 milligrams cholesterol; 498 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 to 8 servings

Preparation

  1. Place tomatoes in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Add leaves from 4 branches of the thyme, toss again, then spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining oil in an ovenproof casserole on medium high. Dry meat and sear in several batches to avoid crowding until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a bowl. Lower heat to medium low. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Add fennel, leeks, shallot and garlic to casserole, stir, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the flour, cook for a moment or two, than add olives, chile flakes and wine. Stir, scraping pan, and bring to a simmer. Add stock. Return meat and its juices to the casserole. Top with branches of rosemary and remaining thyme. Cover and place in the oven. Place the pan of tomatoes in the oven. Cook both for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the pans from the oven. Check seasonings of meat. Transfer meat and sauce to a serving dish, arrange tomatoes on top and serve together.

3 hours

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