This is my basic simmered mince recipe that I can transform into loads of different meals and can feed us well for several dinners and a lunch or two. It makes 1kg of mince stretch a long way and is great if you are counting pennies or are starting to use Meal Plans to cut your household spending.
3 Tbsp oil
3 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
3 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 peppers, chopped into smallish chunks
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 kg beef mince
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water
Heat half of the 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.
You can now turn the Simmered Mince into many other meals:
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. Serve with mixed vegetables or peas.
Mince on Toast
The ultimate in low faff comfort food for dinner! Serve the simmered mince on top of thick slices of toast. I use homemade wholemeal bread cut into thick slices. You could serve the mince with crusty bread rolls on the side instead of toast.
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.
1 pack bacon lardons or 4 rashers finely chopped
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)
500g dried spaghetti
Heat a saucepan and add the lardons, let the fat run out and then sauté 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.
Make the Spaghetti Bolognese recipe as above then mix with cooked pasta and put into an oven proof dish. Top with grated cheese and put under the grill until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
Mince and Lentil Hotpot
Use 1/3 of the Simmered Mince, as per the recipe above, and add a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and corn along with a drained tin of lentils and simmer until the frozen vegetables are cooked everything has been well heated through.