When I was at uni I always said that if I were to write a cookbook it would be 101 ways with mince. At the start of each term, mum and I would go to the butchers and buy 2lb of minced beef which we'd portion up in freezer bags for me to use. I was lucky to go to university with slightly more than a working knowledge of the kitchen. Unlike one of my flatmates in the first year who genuinely survived on beans on toast - with beans and sausages on toast for highdays and holidays. No word of a lie. Every day.
Many of the recipes I use then, I still use now - with some tweaks thanks to either additional equipment (God bless the food processor) or my own changing tastes (no more dried garlic). One that I never made at university was minced beef hash - I actually made a tuna hash with red pepper which I keep threatening myself with revisiting.
I saw the origin of this recipe on a Jamie Oliver programme, and scrawled down the ingredients and a kind of method a couple of years ago. I've since then kept to the rough idea of it, but changed it up fairly significantly.
Minced beef hash - by me (with some help from Mr Oliver)
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
500g minced beef
4 sticks celery
250g chestnut mushrooms
1 red onion
2 small baking potatoes (I work to half a potato per person I'm feeding and have been known to double this when money is tight and there are extra people around the table).
First off, use a food processor or knife to thinly slice the celery, carrots, mushrooms and onion and set aside
Now brown your mince in a little olive oil in a non stick pan
Add the thyme, rosemary and a good grind or 12 of pepper
Add the veggies and stir well so it's all mixed up
Add the Worcestershire sauce - about 6 tablespoons (you'll notice we've not added salt so far - this is why)
Now using the food processor or knife, thinly slice the potatoes - add these into your pan
Put a lid on and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until everything has cooked down
Now this can be served so many ways - it's already got potatoes so you don't need an extra carbohydrate, but it goes epically well with garlic bread. Or so I'm told. Ahem.
The other way I cook this is exactly the same, but instead of adding sliced potatoes - bake up a potato per person in the oven and then after an hour or so, remove the potato. Split in half and take out the cooked middle. Mix this with the cooked minced beef, and pile it back it, topped with grated cheese. Heat through for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and crispy. Epic. The mince goes a lot further this way so this much ends up serving 8.