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Ragout /ræˈɡ/ (French ragoût; French pronunciation: ​[ʁaɡu]) is a main-dish stew.

Ragoût aux lentilles.jpg
Ragoût aux lentilles


The term comes from the French ragoûter, meaning: "to revive the taste". The Italian ragù (the word being borrowed from French) is a sauce such as Ragù Napoletano used typically to dress pasta.


The basic method of preparation involves slow cooking over a low heat. The main ingredients are many; ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned.


Plated turkey ragoût

Two 18th-century English dishes from The Compleat Housewife[1] show some of the varying meats, vegetables, seasonings, garnishes and procedures which can be applied to the ragoût.

A Ragoo for made Dishes
TAKE claret, gravy, sweet-herbs, and savoury spice, toss up in it lamb-stones (i.e. lamb’s testicles), 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.

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.

Popular cultureEdit

The 1731 patriotic ballad "The Roast Beef of Old England" by the British writer Henry Fielding comically attributes Britain's traditional military prowess to the eating of roast beef, suggesting that this has been lost since the introduction of ragout from "all-vapouring France".[2]

In the novel Pride and Prejudice, the character Mr. Hurst reacts with disdain when Elizabeth Bennet opts for a "plain dish" instead of a ragout at dinner.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Smith, Eliza (1758). The Compleat Housewife: or, Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion… (16th ed.). London: C Hitch, etc.
  2. ^ Daly, Gavin (2013). The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808–1814. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-137-32382-8.