Ragoût of Beef


  • 2 lb. (1 k.) rump of beef, in one piece, trimmed of all fat
  • ½ lb. (240 g.) ox kidney, skinned, cored, and cut up finely
  • 1 pint (6 dl.) well-flavoured reduced brown stock
  • ¼ lb. (120 g.) mushrooms
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut fine 12 forcemeat balls
  • 2 oz. (60 g.) butter
  • a little flour
  • salt and pepper
  • bay leaves and bouquet garni


‘Ragoos’ or ‘ragouts’ appeared on the tables of all great houses from the sixteenth century and probably earlier. A ragout was a thick stew of beef or other meat, poultry or game or vegetables which was enriched either with a ‘cullis’ (see Sauces) or with a very strong reduced stock and which usually contained mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, sweetbreads, cockscombs, etc.

Flour the beef and fry it on all sides in the butter in the pan in which it will be stewed. Add the onions and the floured kidney and fry lightly. Add the herbs and seasoning, put in water just to cover and stew very gently for 1½ hours. There should be about 1–1½ pints (6–9 dl.) of liquid at this point. If there is more, pour some off (keep for another dish) before adding your brown stock.

Add the stock and the mushrooms. Cover and stew for a further half-hour. Warm the forcemeat balls in a covered dish in the oven. Remove the herbs and bay leaves and season highly. Put the beef on a flat dish. The stock should be as thick as thin cream. If it is too thin, keep the beef hot while you thicken it with 2 teaspoons of cornflour stirred into a little cold water and added to the boiling stock. Pour over the beef and put the forcemeat balls around the edge of the dish.