The grim weather at the moment necessitates a return to proper, hearty comfort food. Sometimes things like stews can be a real pain to cook though, especially when money is tight. Mince is such a good ingredient when you’re cooking on a budget; it is cheap and really adaptable. Sometimes the old classics get a bit boring though so I thought I would come up with a warming winter mince recipe that is a bit different.
This recipe is really simple although the homemade cheese sauce might prove tricky. You can obviously substitute this for something from a jar but white sauce is such a useful thing to learn how to make. You only need three cheap ingredients. The quantities here are just guidelines; really you just need enough butter so all the flour is incorporated but no more. The key is not to get frustrated and give up if you go wrong, just give it another go.
Cheesy Hotpot (Serves 2):
– 125g of beef mince
– Half an onion
– 2 carrots
– One leek
– One beef stockpot
– 2 potatoes
– 10g of plain flour
– 10g of butter
– A cup of milk
– A couple of handfuls of cheese.
– Dice the onion and leek and add to a hot pan with a knob of butter. Once they have sweated down add the mince and brown. Add the carrots to the pan along with a cup of hot water and the stockpot. Leave to simmer on a low heat with the lid on, checking on it every now and again.
– Thinly slice the potatoes and parboil them for around 5 minutes.
– Melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until it forms a paste. Now add a little of the milk and whisk until it is all incorporated, add a little more and whisk again. Continue this process until all the milk is added. If it still looks a bit thick add some more. If it is lumpy don’t worry—just keep vigorously whisking it. If it tastes of flour just leave it on the hob until it boils, this will cook out the flour.
– Whisk half of the cheese into the sauce. Put your mince in a dish and top with the potatoes and the cheese sauce. Finally top with the rest of the cheese and cook under a medium grill for five to ten minutes.
Cost per head: £1.67
Washing up: A knife, a chopping board, 3 pans, a wooden spoon, a whisk, an oven dish, a plate and knife and fork.