I'm following a recipe for a pork rib ragu that calls for one onion, 2 carrots and one stick of celery along with 500ml of stock. It suggests that I let this simmer for 2-3 hours.

When I return to the pan after 2 hours, most of the stock has boiled away (and not into a thick sauce) , despite turning the heat down, and I'm left with blackened vegetables, under the ribs. I've watched the video and it appears I'm not missing anything but for the life of me I can't get the same results.

The recipe is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rib_rag_28935

  • 4
    Your heat is too high. Once the ingredients are up to temp you need to turn the heat way down (near the lowest setting on most cooktops.) A simmer is not a boil. Dec 10, 2014 at 22:13
  • 1
    By "turning the heat down" do you mean the lowest setting (and on the smallest hob if you have a gas cooker?) Or do you mean going from maximum to on a medium heat? Dec 10, 2014 at 22:35
  • 1
    I'm on an electric hob, i go from a i guess around a 6/7 to a 4/3. I can barely see the numbers on the hob (I'm in rented house, the hob was like that before i moved in), so from a 5o'clock to a 7o'clock.
    – Jarede
    Dec 10, 2014 at 22:56
  • 2
    Agree with @jbarker2160, also are you supposed to lid it? Partially lid it? You could've lost too much moisture if you're supposed to lid it, but you didn't :)
    – Ming
    Dec 11, 2014 at 0:25
  • 3
    @Jarede the numbers or the position of the hob don't matter. What matters is the state the liquid is in. You have to learn to recognize when a liquid is at a simmer, boil, and so on. The same position of the hob will just draw the same amount of energy from the mains, which will result in a very different temperature within the pot in each situation.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 11, 2014 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


I do agree with the comments about using the proper temperature and simmering. It can be difficult to achieve that perfect simmer, especially with a lidded pan, but quite worth the effort.

Please see this from CookingLight as it gives very good information about boiling and simmering and how to get to where you want to be.

Another thing would be to check on it more frequently (after achieving the simmer). 500 ml of liquid is not a huge amount, especially with a 2 - 3 hour cooking time. (You will surely have some evaporation, even with a lidded pan, and the amount can vary from one time to another.) If you see that the liquid is getting too low you can add more.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.