Lamb, bean and mushroom ragu

Today’s heavy downpours of rain aside, I am really quite enjoying Autumn so far. The almost frosty mornings that turn into crisp sunny days, and wind down into chilly nights. We’ve started having real fires again – nothing beats that cosy feeling of a warm fire in the evening. Strictly has started too – sequins and cosy fires, what’s not to love? Ask me again in 6 months’ time though and I’ll be ready for some warmth in the old bones!

We even managed a little hike with the kids yesterday! They did 2 miles. It was eventful: Arthur smashed his face into a cement path 5 minutes into the walk – but carried on bravely, and then we got encircled by over amorous horses, which was quite scary actually! This happened just after I finished taking the mick out of Adam for being scared of horses. Karma! It was a charity walk in my parents’ village, raising money for the local school. We’re very civic minded people, you see… ; ) Then in the pub after we won 2 prizes in the raffle: a popcorn machine and a little wooden solitaire game. Does life get any better, I ask you?

So, this recipe isn’t going to change the world. But it is going to fill up tummies with warming, wholesome, healthy food. My children, who mostly disagree on what they like and dislike food-wise, both wolfed this down in seconds flat, even asking for more. I have loosely based it on a ragu that my Nana makes for us when we visit. It’s very adaptable; I think she adds little tomatoes at the end, which burst pleasingly when you chomp on one. And also basil. I wanted earthy, Italian flavours that I knew would work and feel Autumnal, so plumped for mushrooms and rosemary for herbage. It’s almost a spin on a Bolognese sauce, but the lamb makes it more flavoursome I think. If your family loves a spag bol, they’ll probably dig this too.

Serve with fantastical amounts of parmesan cheese.

Serves: 4 adults (or equivalent)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
4 small carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g lamb mince
200g mushrooms, sliced or quartered
400g tinned tomatoes
400g tin of mixed beans, drained
The tin of tomatoes, filled with beef stock (or crumble on Oxo cube in a swirl tin with boiling water)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon Henderson’s Relish (or Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Any pasta you like – we used penne (100g for adults, 50g for kids)
Parmesan, to serve

Instructions: 

  1. Sweat the diced onion and carrot in the oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the garlic. You don’t want any colour, just soften it all. 
  2. Add the lamb and turn up the heat. Brown the meat. Tip in the mushrooms. 
  3. Throw in the herbs. And the Henderson’s (or L&P sauce). 
  4. Now tip in the tomatoes and the stock. Finally add the beans. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour, with the lid on. Take the lid off for the last 15 minutes. Season to taste. 
  5. Serve with al dente pasta and loads of parmesan. 
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