I know how much people worry about cooking for chefs but you shouldn’t as an old fashioned tea, made with great Scottish ingredients will hit the mark every time.
I prepare what I suppose you would say is fancy food daily so one of my favourite dinners, especially on a Monday is mince and tatties. However, I don’t like anything else with that: no carrots in the pot nor peas through the mince.
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The only time I will add vegetables is if I have leftovers as if I bulk these up with carrots and peas then I can top it with mash and make a cottage pie.
I think mince and tatties is probably one of the first things I watched being cooked at home. I make it no different to this day ...except I do slip in a wee suggestion of butter in the tatties with salt and pepper!
Scotch beef mince and Scottish grown spuds are essential and they usually make a little extra so there is an option to get seconds or to rustle it into another midweek meal.
Mince and tatties:
500g of good quality Scotch Beef mince (I prefer steak but use lean if you wish)
1 small onion, finely chopped (diced is best)
A half tablespoon of flour
250ml of good beef stock
500g of potatoes (Rooster, Desiree or King Edward), peeled and cut into even sized chunks
25g of butter (optional)
1 Put the potato chunks in a large pot, then pour boiling water over them. Add half a teaspoon of salt, put on a lid and simmer gently until they are absolutely tender – they will take 20-25 minutes. The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part: the potato should not be hard in the centre. If they are slightly underdone you do get lumps.
2 Warm a heavy based pan and tip in diced onion and mince. Use a fork lightly at this stage to break up all of the mince.
3 Add the flour and stir until all the flour is absorbed. This also helps if the mince is fatty.
4 Pour over the hot beef stock and turn down heat to a light simmer for 15-20mins
5 When the potatoes are cooked, drain them. Cover them with a clean tea cloth to absorb some of the steam for about 2/3 min.
6 Mash the potatoes. I prefer to use a potato ricer for mash as it’s perfect and saves the strain of a masher.
7 Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. I prefer white pepper added carefully as opposed to seeing chunks of black pepper through a lovely white mash.
8 Taste the mince at this stage. If it needs some oomph then a dash of Worcester sauce might just lift it a bit. The gravy at this stage should just be thick and no more. We want lots of mince in a nice tasty gravy: too much gravy and a few bits of mince just won’t do. In fact, I remember my Grannie giving the boys a slice of bread to mop up or to have a piece of mince on which, to this day, still horrifies me. Whichever way you like your tatties, boiled or mashed, it has to be really nice tasty mince so make the effort for excellent quality Scotch beef mince. Have a chat to the butcher whilst there and get some good beef stock. He might even give you some beef bones for a good stock but that’s for another day.
9 Serve mash on the bottom and mince over the top in nice big warm bowls so any excess gravy gets soaked into the mash.