This basic mince recipe is the foundation for many of your favourite dishes.
The base of so many meals, having the perfect mince recipe in your repertoire will stand you in good stead for making all manner of dishes. This recipe uses minced beef but you can swap it for other types of mince if you prefer – lamb, pork, turkey or even Quorn will all work (just swap the beef stock, for vegetable if you’re vegetarian, with a bit of added marmite or miso paste to mimic the richness). A flavour-packed mince is the perfect start-point to make dishes like spaghetti Bolognese, cottage pie and chilli con carne. Our basic mince includes mushrooms, carrots, onions and tomatoes so you’ll be well on your way to getting your five a day, too.
- 1tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 med onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 500g minced beef
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 2 level tbsp plain flour
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 beef stock cube
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a sauté pan or large frying pan, add the onion and carrots and cook over a medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften. Add the beef to the pan and cook for about 5-10 mins, stirring to break up the meat, until it browns. Once the meat is crumbly, stir occasionally to prevent it sticking and burning, but don’t keep stirring it, otherwise it just cools the mixture, rather than letting the meat brown. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few mins.
Sprinkle over the flour, then mix it in well and heat for 3-4 mins to cook the flour. The flour will absorb the fat that comes out of the meat, which will then thicken the sauce.
Pour in the can of tomatoes, sprinkle in the stock cube and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continually, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 mins, until it thickens slightly and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving, or use it as a base for another recipe. If the sauce seems very thick, just add a little boiling water.
Top tip for making basic mince
Knowing you've got some individual portions of basic mince in the freezer is a lifesaver.
To freeze: Cool the mixture quickly, then freeze it in a suitable container or freezer bag for up to three months. Allow the sauce to defrost before reheating. Line plastic containers with freezer bags before pouring the mixture in, to avoid the red from the tomatoes staining the plastic.