An Italian classic, ragù is a meat-based sauce that’s typically cooked slowly over long periods of time, traditionally served with pasta. Co-founder of Tart London and Belgravia restaurant Wild by Tart, Lucy Carr-Ellison’s spin on the dish uses lamb neck that’s chopped into chunks and slow-cooked for at least two hours (ideally longer). The chef’s lamb neck ragù recipe is also served on a bed of buttery polenta instead of pasta, with chimichurri that’s spiked with plenty of basil alongside the usual mint and parsley, which brightens the dish commonly associated with cold winter evenings. A comfort food classic, ideal for Easter or any time of year.
“We go weak at the knees for a ragù. It’s probably the first thing that we order in an Italian restaurant, followed perhaps by a vongole or a spicy crab linguini. Whilst we can’t be in Italy right now, recreating a version for Easter with lamb is a real treat. We use lamb neck for this recipe as it is so tender and it’s inexpensive which always helps. This dish almost feels quite summery with the basil chimichurri – ragùs aren’t just for cold, dark nights in! We are serving it with cheesy polenta which is nice for a change, but it’s equally delicious with pasta if the thought of standing there whisking up polenta fills you with dread – although the quick cook polenta is pretty speedy.”
Wild by Tart’s lamb neck ragù recipe
For the ragù
- Splash of olive oil
- 900 g lamb neck chopped into chunks
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finally chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary chopped
- 2 sprigs thyme chopped
- 1 bunch sage chopped
- 1 tsp crushed chilies
- 1 stick celery chopped
- 1 bulb fennel finely chopped
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms chopped
- 400 g tin good quality chopped tomatoes
- 250 ml white wine
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
For the Basil Chimichurri
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch mint woody stalks removed
- 1 green chilli
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- Heat the olive oil over a high heat in a medium sized, heavy based sauce pan. Add the lamb and sear till all browned, remove from pan and reserve to one side.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, celery, fennel, mushrooms and dried chilli and sauté till soft and starting to caramelize.
- Return the lamb to the pan, then add the tomatoes, white wine, stock, and jelly, reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least two hours (the longer the better), you can just pop in the oven and leave on a low heat if that’s easier.
- While the ragù is cooking make the chimichurri, add all ingredients into a food processor and blitz, if you don’t have one then finally chop and combine.
- When ready to serve, prepare the polenta to the instructions on the packet – we suggest also adding lots of butter and parmesan to make it deliciously luxurious. Serve the polenta in a warmed bowl and spoon the ragù on top, then grate parmesan and drizzle the chimichurri.
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