Wednesday 9 October 2013, 19:10
I learned to cook this when I was at Cirencester. The longer you cook it the better, so try making it at lunchtime and letting it bubble on a very low heat all afternoon – ideally in the simmering oven of the Aga.
Serves 4 or 5, depending on whether you’ve been doing stock work or not. If you’ve been lambing or calving, make it 1½ lbs of mince and add an extra tin of tomatoes.
1 lb Brookfield Hereford beef mince
2 or 3 rashers of streaky bacon
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
1 beef stock cube
A few mushrooms if you’ve got them
1 tin of tomatoes
A squidge of tomato purée
1 glass of red wine (plus one to drink while you’re cooking)
Any herbs you’ve got knocking around
Salt and pepper
Peel and chop the onion, put a decent splash of oil in a big casserole dish and fry the onions over a medium heat with the lid on so they go yellowy. Peel and mince the garlic clove and stick that in after a few minutes. Taste the wine.
Chop the bacon into little pieces (Mum uses scissors for this, which actually works quite well) and then cut the carrot and celery into little pieces too. Don’t use scissors for this, it doesn’t work.
Put the bacon in the pan and stir it round for a minute, then add the beef. Stir that round so it all gets nice and brown. Another mouthful of wine helps at this point.
When the beef looks ok, put the carrot and celery in, and chopped mushrooms if you have them. Stir all those round for a minute then add a tin of toms, the stock cube made up with between half a pint and a pint of boiling water, squelch of tomato purée, the wine (topping up your glass afterwards), herbs , salt and pepper.
Give it all a good stir and let it bubble up, then stick the lid back on and cook slowly for at least two hours.
Serve with pasta.
Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer
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