The French name "ragout" (pronounced ra-goo) means a meat combined with vegetables and cooked to tender goodness. Thus, unlike Italian ragu, which usually contains tomato, this "ragout" is composed of melt-in-your-mouth tender beef with caramelized onions, cooked together in beef broth and red wine. It is thickened a bit with a classic French "beurre manie", a mixture of butter and flour. Use chuck roast, this is not the place for a leaner cut of meat. Perfect accompaniment to Cheesy Baked Grits, mashed potatoes or even toasted garlic bread. Definitely try it with the grits, you won't be disappointed!!
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 6 pieces
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
3 Tablespoons softened butter
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Baked Cheesy Grits (for serving)
1/2 cup minced mixed fresh savory herbs, such as parsley, chives, thyme, (use small amounts of herbs such as sage or rosemary because of their powerful flavors)
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet and heat until just starting to smoke. Generously salt and pepper the pieces of roast on both sides. Add pieces to the skillet (do it in two batches if needed-don't crowd the skillet.) Cook until all of the pieces are very brown on both sides, then remove and place in a 6 quart crock pot. (Alternately, place in a Dutch oven and complete the cooking in a 300-degree oven for 3 hours) Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until soft and very-well browned. Add the red wine to the onions in the skillet and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated. Add the onion mixture to the meat in the crock pot.
Bring the broth to a boil and add to the crock pot. Cook on high heat for three hours, turning the meat occasionally. When the meat is very tender and easy to shred with a fork, turn off the heat and remove the meat to a platter and cover to keep warm.
Place the remaining contents into a large saucepan and bring up to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until the broth has reduced a bit. Combine the softened butter and flour and mix to form a paste. Add the mixture a little at a time to the boiling broth, stirring well after each addition. Cook for a few minutes after all of the "beurre manie" has been added. Shred the beef with two forks and add to the hot sauce; mix well and simmer until the beef is heated through.
Serve atop Baked Cheese Grits sprinkled with minced herbs.
(Cool leftovers and refrigerate. This dish is just as good the second (or third) time!)