Root Vegetable Ragu


My mom is always an inspiration in my cooking.  Days when I miss my family, I make things that remind me of home.

Growing up my mother made something she called student’s ragu.  It is a layered and simmered dish all done in mom’s electric skillet.   Mom’s ragu has potatoes, onions, ground beef and the like.  It is simple, delicious comfort food made in a “set it and forget it” manner.  It is also best served with a side of ketchup.  When we asked her why it was called “Students Ragu,” she had no answer but I can imagine the ‘student’ part is because the ingredients were cheap.

This variation on mom’s ragu came about because Spring is finally here and I have odd and ends in my root cellar that need to be used.  Out with the old and in with the new.

This is quick, super easy, and can be served anytime of day. Today, I chose to serve it for breakfast with an egg, a side of toast, and instead of ketchup, with paprika paste from Hungary.   The other week I served it for dinner with beans and grilled chicken.

The variations on this could be endless.  If you do not have exactly the veggies called for, please substitute anything you like.

Root Veg Ragu

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 small turnip
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 3/4c Chicken broth
  • Bacon (sub with butter or oil)
  • 1t Oregano
  • 1/2t Cumin
  • 1t Thyme
  • 1T flour (*optional)

Slice all the veggies to a uniform thickness of approximately 1/8”-1/4”.

Begin by rendering the bacon in a skillet.  Build one layer of root veggies on the bottom of the pan. Season with herbs, salt, pepper, and flour.  Add a layer of peppers, onions, and garlic. Cover with another layer of root vegetables. Season again and top with one last layer of peppers, onions and garlic.  Add chicken broth to the pan, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the veggies with a knife.

Scoop out heaping servings and share with others. Enjoy.

Serves: 4

*The flour will help to thicken the gravy in the bottom of the pan. If you are gluten-free then, by all means, leave it out.  The gravy will simply be thinner.