Ragout is the term used for a stew that may or may not contain meat. As with all stews, the best cook will cook it slow over low heat. Ingredients for a ragout vary widely with individual choices of meat, vegetables, spices, and seasonings. Ragout comes from the French word 'ragouter' (rag - ooter), which means "to revive the taste".
In 'The Compleat Housewife', the first cookbook published in the United States, was written by Eliza Smith and originally published in London, England, in 1727. Smith wrote two recipes for a ragoo that can be used to add to a ragout. These are:
A Ragoo for made Dishes:
Take claret, gravy, sweet-herbs, and savoury spice, toss up in it lamb-stones, cock's-combs, boiled, blanched, and sliced, with sliced sweet-meats, oysters, mushrooms, truffles, and murrels; thicken these with brown butter; use it when called for.
If that does not appeal to you, how about:
To make a Ragoo of Pigs-Ears:
Take a quantity of pigs-ears, and boil them in one half wine and the other water; cut them in small pieces, then brown a little butter, and put them in, and a pretty deal of gravy, two anchovies, an eschalot or two, a little mustard, and some slices of lemon, some salt and nutmeg: stew all these together, and shake it up thick. Garnish the dish with barberries.
I think I will pass on those two suggestions and jump right to ingredients I am familiar with.
Crockpot Beef Ragout
Ingredients for 6 - 8 servings:
3 pounds well marbled chuck beef, cut into bite size cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 1/2 cups water or beef broth, divide into 3/4 cups each
3/4 cup flour
1 cup red wine
1 can chopped tomatoes, about 2 cups
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
12 small onions peeled, leave whole
12 small potatoes, peeled and left whole or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 large bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, rub in. Heat large skillet and add oil. In hot oil brown the meat on all sides, stirring constantly. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until onion is tender and lightly browned. Place flour in a small bowl.
Using a whip and stirring constantly, gradually add 1 cup water and blend well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add flour thickening to skillet, stirring constantly until smooth and well blended with meat and vegetables. Place entire mixture into crockpot. Salt to taste. Add 1/2 cup water or broth and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Serve with hot bread or rolls.