It seems to me, the toughest challenge faced by budding student foodies is finding as many uses for mince as is humanly possible. Chilli, lasagne, spag bol and shepherds pie are on the menu every otter night in unit up and down the country. Mince is such a good ingredient when you’re cooking on a budget, it is cheap and really adaptable. Sometimes the old classics get a bit boring though so here’s a recipe for mince that is a bit different.
This recipe is really simple except, for any sauce- virgins out there, the homemade cheese sauce might prove tricky. You can obviously substitute this for something from a jar but white sauce is such a useful thing to learn how to make, you only need 3 ingredients, all of which most people will have in the house already. The quantities here are just guidelines really, I don’t normally measure it all out, you just need enough butter so all the flour is incorporated but no more. The key is not to get frustrated, if it goes wrong you can try again, it won’t break the bank! Other things to remember: just keep whisking and it should turn out alright and don’t use a non-stick pan because the whisk will scratch off the coating.
Cheesy Hotpot (Serves 2)
- 125g of beef mince
- Half an onion
- 2 carrots
- one leek
- one beef stockpot
- 2 potatoes
- 10g of plain flour
- 10g of butter
- a cup of milk
- A couple of handfuls of cheese.
How to Make it…
- Dice the onion and slice up the leek and add to a hot pan with a knob of butter. Once they have sweated down add the mince and brown. Add the carrots to the pan along with a cup of hot water and the stockpot. Leave to simmer on a low heat with the lid on, checking on it every now and again.
- Thinly slice the potatoes like you would for a dauphinoise and parboil them for around 5 minutes.
- Melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until it forms a paste. Now add a little of the milk and whisk until it is all incorporated, add a little more and whisk again. Continue this process until all the milk is added. If it still looks a bit thick add some more. If it is lumpy don’t worry just keep vigorously whisking it. If it tastes of flour thats ok just leave it on the hob until it boils, this will cook out the flour.
- Whisk half of the cheese into the sauce. Now put your mince in a dish and top with the potatoes and then the cheese sauce. Finally top with the rest of the cheese and cook under a medium grill for five to ten minutes.
Cost rating **
I used: 1/4 of a pack of mince costing £3.30, 1/2 an onion costing 18p, one leek costing 87p, 2 carrots costing 14p, 1/4 of a packet of stockpots costing £1, 2 potatoes costing 27p, 2p worth of plain flour, 4p worth of butter, about 1/4 of a carton of milk costing 89p, 1/10 of a block of cheese costing£2.15.
Total cost: £3.35 Cost per head:£1.67
Washing up rating **
I used: A knife, a chopping board, 3 pans, a wooden spoon, a whisk, an oven dish, a plate and knife and fork.