- 4 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 6 smoked bacon rashers, chopped
Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…
- 4 onions, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 4 celery sticks, finely chopped
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 2 bay leaves
- 500g mushrooms, sliced
The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…
- 1½ kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince)
- 6 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…
- 6 tbsp tomato purée
- large glass red wine (optional)
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…
- Parmesan, to serve
Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…
Heat the oil in a very large saucepan. Gently cook the bacon, onions, carrots and celery for 20 mins until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, bay and mushrooms, then cook for 2 mins more.
Heat a large frying pan until really hot. Crumble in just enough mince to cover the pan, cook until brown, then tip in with the veg. Continue to fry the mince in batches until used up. Tip the tomatoes and purée in with the mince and veg. Rinse the cans out with the red wine, if you have some, or with a little water, then add to the pan with the vinegar and sugar. Season generously and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly for 1 hr until thick and saucy and the mince is tender. Serve with pasta and Parmesan.
If you want to use a slow cooker...
Fry your bacon and mince off in batches in a large pan until browned. Put into your slow cooker, add the veg, garlic, herbs, 4 x 400g cans tomatoes, tomato purée, wine, vinegar, sugar and seasoning. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours, then uncover, turn to High and cook for another hour until thick and saucy.
Use lamb mince instead of beef, swap the mixed herbs for 2 tbsp each ground cinnamon and cumin, and use 2 handfuls dried apricots instead of mushrooms.
Boil 2kg potatoes until tender, drain, then mash with 100g butter and 100g grated cheese. Spoon the mince between 2 large baking dishes and top with the mash. Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 until golden and bubbling.