3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
3 celery sticks, finely sliced
1 pepper, chopped into smallish chunks
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 kg beef mince
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water
Heat half of the vegetable oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onions, garlic, herbs, carrot, celery and pepper. Sweat until softened. Put into your slow cooker. If you're not using a slow cooker, just take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
Brown the mince in a large pan over a medium heat, about a third at a time. Fry until there are no pink bits left. Don't brown all the mince at once or you will crowd the pan and it will take longer to brown. Put the browned mince in your slow cooker. If you aren't using a slow cooker, add the vegetables you sweated off earlier to the mince at this point.
Add the tinned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and stock to the mince and vegetable mixture, either in your slow cooker or in a large saucepan on the hob, mix until well combined.
Either simmer uncovered on the hob for one hour until the volume of liquid has reduced slightly and the sauce has thickened or cook in your slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. You can thicken the sauce with a little cornflour mixed with cold water then stirred into the sauce.
Spoon about a third of the above mince mixture into a baking dish, top with about 750g mashed potato and bake at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden-brown on top.
Chilli Con Carne
Use 1/3 of the simmered mince mixture and stir a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce, or a tin of kidney beans and enough chilli powder to suit your taste, into a third of the mince mixture and warm through. Serve with rice or tortillas topped with little soured cream.
The remaining third of the mince can be frozen or kept in the fridge for up to three days. It's fab as a topping for baked potatoes, or you can even have it on toast.
You could make some dumplings to have with the remaining mince or make Spaghetti Bolognese (recipes below).
250g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
125g shredded suet
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Put the flour in a bowl and stir in the suet, salt and parsley. Make a well in the centre and add enough cold water to make a soft dough. It normally takes approximately 200ml. Lightly flour your hands and roll the dough into 12 small balls.
Heat up the mince to a simmer in a large saucepan. Carefully put the dumplings on top of the mince, cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over a medium heat for about 18-20 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through and well risen.
1 pack bacon lardons
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
300ml red wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
300ml boiling water
1/3 batch of simmered mince (recipe above)
350g dried spaghetti
Heat a saucepan and add the lardons, let the fat run out and then saute the garlic for a couple of minutes. Drain off as much oil as you can and then add the red wine. Boil the wine until it has reduced to about 2 Tblsp of liquid and then add the tinned tomatoes, braised mince and stock.
Simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until the mince has thickened to bolognese sauce consistency. Whilst the mince is thickening, cook your spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack. Check the mince mixture for seasoning then serve over cooked spaghetti. Top with grated parmesan if you want.