Slow Cooked Beef Cheek Ragu | Recipe

We’re still hovering between some warmer days and some cooler days so it’s not too warm to get away with slow cooking. This delicious Beef Cheek Ragu is well worth making before the summer hits!

The best thing about this Beef Cheek Ragu is that after a small amount of faff at the start (I’ve put 50 min prep time but that’s generous) it’s easy to cook. Get everything to a point and then pop in the oven for 4 hours. I personally love dishes like this and now I’m working from home a lot more it’s easy to prep this at lunch and cook ’til dinner time. This dish is also fantastically freezable, or keeps well in a box for a couple of days so you can spread out your consumption! I do love meals that I can use over numerous days, it does make meal planning a lot easier.

Slow Cooked Beef Cheek Ragu

A delicious dinner that doesn’t take a lot of effort. Goes well with pasta, potatoes or polenta as a side.

 Course Main Course

 Cuisine Italian

 Prep Time 50 minutes

 Cook Time 4 hours 50 minutes

 Servings 4


  • 750g – 1kg Beef cheeks
  • 150 g Smoked pancetta sliced up (or pre-sliced)
  • 2 Red onions diced small
  • 6 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp Dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp Dried chilli flakes
  • 2 Carrots diced small
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 180 ml Red wine (one of those small supermarket bottles)
  • 680 g Jar of passata
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 160c/150c (fan). Season the beef cheeks with sea salt and black pepper, then brown them in a large casserole pan on a high heat with a splash of olive oil, turning until well coloured all over. Prepare the onions and carrots, crush the garlic.
  2. When browned, take out the cheeks and put in a bowl to one side. Throw in the pancetta, stirring until the pancetta is lightly golden. Add the onion, cook until translucent. Then add in the garlic, carrots and fry a little longer (a couple of minutes) then the dried herbs. At this point you can add some more black pepper. Fry everything for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring so nothing sticks.
  3. Pour in the wine, let it reduce by half, then add back in the beef cheeks. Pour in the passata. Fill the passata bottle with water and pour into the pan, add more water if your beef cheeks are not covered with water. Cover with a scrunched-up sheet of wet greaseproof paper and a lid. Cook in the oven for 4 hours, or until the meat is outrageously tender and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Chop up a bunch of fresh basil and stir into the sauce. Taste the sauce and season further with salt and pepper if needed, then serve up however you wish. We served once with pasta and then the next time with colcannon.

We usually serve the ragu with pasta as it’s very typical. I love serving with pasta shells as they fill up with the deliciously meaty sauce. However, the last time I made we gave it a go with Nigella’s Brown Butter Colcannon. Now this something I hadn’t done before, but OH WOW! This really worked, so if you don’t fancy pasta or maybe are gluten free, you could give this a go. Another thing you can serve with is polenta, but neither Dr W or I are really a fan of it.

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