Mince Pages - Recipes from The Complete Book of Mince

Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is a traditional dish of minced beef. The beef in the pie may have been left over from the Sunday roast. It is baked with buttery mashed potato on top. In Australia and New Zealand the cottage pie is sometimes called a potato pie or potato-top pie and in America is its sometimes called a cowboy pie.

You do not have to live in a cottage to make cottage pie.

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • Beef stock or gravy, about 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 large potatoes, boiled, mashed and cooled
  • 25g butter

Brown the minced beef thoroughly. Add the onion and carrot and fry until soft. Add about a cup of beef stock or gravy to a moist but not too runny consistency. Add salt and pepper. Place in a pie-dish and top the pie with a thick crust of cooled mashed potatoes. Use a fork that has been dipped in hot water to mark the crust. Dot the crust with butter and bake for 40 minutes at 190oC, 380oF or gas mark 5 until brown.

Other ingredients a cottage pie can include a garlic, herbs, peas and other vegetables.

Meatball Soup

Yes, this really is a mince soup. From Mexico.

  • 250g minced beef
  • 3tbsps breadcrumbs
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 2tbsps parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1.25 litres beef stock

Fry the onions in a little of the butter or until soft. Put the mince, breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, parsley and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Once cooled, add the onions. Add the egg to bind the mixture.

On a floured surface, shape the mixture into small meatballs.

Put the remainder of the butter in a pan and fry the meatballs until they are browned all over. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

In a separate pot, bring the beef stock to the boil. Then place the meatballs into a pot, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serves four to six.

Le Menu

Some dishes will be described in a foreign language. You can probably guess these, so no need to trouble the waiter who has got enough to worry about without being bothered by you.

Beware of lengthy flowery descriptions especially when those involve "served on a bed of anything".

"Drizzle" is a weather condition, not a method of cookery.

Hot dishes, will be described as table d'hote or haute cuisine.

Dishes served from the trolley will be à la carte.

Ignore the specials - because these are leftovers and will be very old and not tasty bites. By choosing from the menu you ensure that your dish of choice is very fresh unless it happens that is the special - so it is better that you don't know.

Always order water from the tap - that is what goes into the fancy bottles anyway.

Encourage other diners to order the same dish because this will mean that the cooking time is the same and that dishes will simultaneously arrive.

Bread and rolls are usually free (if you are spending enough) and should be torn apart with your fingers, never cut with a knife. Get to the butter dish as soon as possible so you have enough.

  • Cover scan of The Complete Book Of Mince
    The Complete Book Of Mince - René La Sagne - Hardback
    In the days before low-fat this and zero-calorie that, mince was one of the most accessible and popular staples that millions never grew tired of. In 'The Complete Book of Mince', Paisley's top chef René La Sagne shares his love of this versatile culinary delicacy.

Some illustrations from The Complete Book of Mince

A Classic Cottage Pie
A Classic Cottage Pie
A Merry Christmas with a Mince-and-Tatties Snowman
A Merry Mincey Christmas
A Plate of Posh Mince
A Plate of Posh Mince
The mince tattoo of Kelly-Marie La Sagne
The Lovely Kelly-Marie La Sagne