Monday, April 07, 2014

Rather Good Mince, Nigel Slater Style

The theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Fit for a Brit!

I’ve only been to England once but foodie images that pop up for me are Shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole, cream tea and a good roast beef dinner. As I didn’t have any of the makings for the aforementioned, but I did have a pound of good quality ground beef, this Nigel Slater recipe called Rather Good Mince was quite appealing.

It’s very good and next time I make it I am using ground lamb. It’s similar to Nigella Lawson’s Rapid Ragu but without the pancetta or Marsala. This is most assuredly a dish that will be repeated in our home. Easy and delicious. Ok, here is the recipe....

Rather good mince
Serves 4 with potatoes, crisp polenta or pasta
(From The Observer, Saturday 18 October 2008)


butter – 1 ½ ounces (50g )
cubed bacon – 2 ½ oz. (70g)
a medium onion
garlic - 2 fat cloves
celery - 2 stalks
mushrooms - about 3 ½ oz. (100g)
bay leaves - 2
minced beef or lamb – 1 pound or slightly less (400g)
canned crushed tomatoes - 1 pound or slightly less (400g)
stock – ¾ cups (200ml)

Here's how you do it.....

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan then stir in the bacon and let it cook for five minutes or so, without coloring much.

Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and stir it into the bacon, followed by the celery, finely chopped. Lastly, finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan, then tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for 10 minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.

Turn up the heat and tip in the meat, breaking it up well with a fork. Now leave to color without stirring for a good three or four minutes, then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary and leave to color.

Mix in the tomatoes and stock and a grating of nutmeg, and some salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles. There should be movement, but one that is gentle, not quite a simmer. Partially cover with a lid and leave to putter away for a good hour or so, stirring from time to time, regularly checking the liquid levels.

Serve with pasta, potatoes or crisp polenta.
Surf over to I ♥ Cooking Club and get your Anglophile culinary fix.


  1. This is going to be a really yummy 6 months. :)

  2. I think so, BFR, and i am enjoying it very much so far!

  3. Every time you all start a new book, I vow to join. Just finishing up Slater's TOAST and would love to get my hands on one of his cookbooks.

  4. I imagine that would be good with a topping of dumplings or as a cobbler ... proper comfort food, thank goodness for St. Nige!!

  5. Debra, You ought to check out Thrift Books, I will send you the website link. I get lots of cookbooks there for under $10.

    Mrs. L, "St Nigel" I love it!

  6. My family would love this over pasta but I like the suggestion of serving it with polenta. Looks delicious!

  7. Zosia, you can take the mince and make a meaty turnover too.

  8. This looks delicious! And I like Tina's idea of turning it into turnovers! With a cup of warm tea!

  9. Mmmmm! I am thinking it would be wonderful over a cheesy polenta! Love the ease of the recipe ... mid-week dinner coming right up!

  10. KF, that has an appeal right now actually :-)

    Susan, you need those go to quickie meals o weekdays!

  11. This looks like wonderful hearty comfort food. ;-) I bet it will be fabulous with the ground lamb as well.

  12. Oh yeah, I love a good plate of mince. When I was a kid, what we used to call "savoury mince" was a regular mid-week meal in our house. With always enough leftovers to have on hot buttered toast the next day.

  13. I already cooked so many British dishes, but I did't made mince. What a wonderful entry, yours looks great.

  14. The title "rather good" makes me laugh. Looks very good to me--love the bay leaves in there! I also like your idea of making a meat pie/turnover. Lots of serving possibilities with this dish.


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