A Saturday afternoon in Ledbury Studio: and a Beefy ragu recipe, by Charlie Smallbone
by Holly Smallbone
This is a delightful dish to prepare on a relaxed afternoon. It requires a generous amount of patience; as it is not a completely hands on dish, it’s relatively stress free. I made it on a Saturday in the Studio when I had a few hours to spare. To begin with, you will need:
4 large vine tomatoes
3 sprigs of celery
4 cloves of garlic
Beef stock – ¾ litre
Two ample short ribs
Fresh thyme - handful
Oregano – handful
Tin of tomatoes – Casalenga Marzanino is a good choice
1/3-1/2 a bottle of white wine
½ litre of milk
For me, the Studio is the perfect place to make this kind of dish; we have some pretty impressive Wolf appliances that add joy to the experience- they are really precise and just work the way I always want my appliances to work.
Peak happiness for me is when I’m preparing something nice in this lovely environment- I find it’s a great way to spend my time …
And so… to the recipe!
First you will need to roast the two short ribs in the oven at 125 degrees, for up to 4 hours (the longer the better), so that the fat renders down and the meat comes away from the bone. At the Studio we have a Wolf M Series Contemporary Black Glass Single Oven; the temperature accuracy is phenomenal. I simply popped the ribs into the oven, and then over the next two hours I caught up with some work whilst listening to Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music!
As the ribs go into their final hour of roasting, get your 4 vine tomatoes, sprinkle rock salt selectively onto them and add a sprinkle of thyme. Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 150 degrees for up to 30 mins.
Whilst the tomatoes are roasting and the ribs are also completing their roast, take your onions, garlic, sprigs of celery and (cleaned) carrots, and dice all the vegetables.
Drop a generous amount of olive oil into a pot on a moderate heat and add your diced vegetables. Sweat them down gently in the pot for 10-15 minutes
Add the rest of the thyme and oregano, and continue gently for a further 3-4 minutes
Next add the tin of tomatoes and beef stock, along with some salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a simmer and add the roast tomatoes, along with the white wine. Leave to gently simmer until you are ready to add the meat and roasted tomatoes.
It is important not to race this bit; I used the Wolf induction cooktop, which is perfect for the slow cook needed, the accuracy of the control on the induction hob meant that simmering the sauce was really a delicate process with minimal bubbles, just a perfect steam coming off the top of the sauce and the occasional bubble breaking the surface. Wolf induction hobs are also 90-95 % energy efficient; as a result, no heat is wasted because energy is supplied directly to the pan.
Next, take the ribs out the oven; the meat should look ready to come off the bone by now, so take off the meat that is readily accessible to be taken off.
Then add all the meat and the bones into the pot and cook for 20 mins, again on a slow simmer.
Add the milk, and now cook for as long as possible, until the milk has effectively disappeared within the mix. The object now is to slowly reduce the liquid, for up to a period of 2 hours. You want to be able to see the vegetables and not be awash with liquid. Finally remove the bones and take off any more meat that looks like it wants to come away from the bone!
And there you have it- some tasty home cooking and a perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Serve with fresh gnocchi or pappardelle, some parmesan and basil, and a good bottle of (Italian) red wine!
© Ledbury Studio 2020