One of my favourite dishes for as long as I can remember, mince and dumplings is really as simple as it sounds. Served with mashed potato, assorted greens and a Yorkshire pudding, it is the ultimate winter belly warmer and really easy to make.
Start by browning the mince in a large pan with a little olive oil, adding one red onion, some garlic (I usually use about 4 or 5 cloves, chopped chunky) and some salt and pepper for seasoning. When I was growing up, I remember my mum making this and adding mushrooms. I actually hated this dish for a long time because of the mushrooms but then one day my dad made the dish and left the mushrooms out which was when it became my favourite winter dish. Instead, when I make the dish I keep it as simple as the above, adding carrots to the mixture occasionally. (I added them in this time as I had some in the fridge).
TIP: I like to use a minced beef with no more than 10% fat, and use 5% fat if I can find it. Some fat is good, but more than this and it risks needing to be drained or the fat ‘shining’ on top of the dish at the end.
A big fan of thick gravy for this dish, I heaped about 3 tablespoons of gravy granules into a jug and mixed with some Worcestershire Sauce, chili flakes, dried garlic, pepper and added enough boiling water to give me the thickness I wanted, which can obviously vary depending on personal taste. Combine this in an ovenproof dish and set aside whilst making the dumplings.
To make the dumplings from scratch it needs a mixture of suet, flour and salt, which is simple enough. However, if you are feeling super lazy (like I was on the day I made this) or if you just want to try making things even simpler for you, there is a prepackaged mix available in grocery stores which you literally add water to and stir. Now, the first time I did this, I was a bit apprehensive as I am usually not a fan of ‘ready mixes’, but both times I have used this, the dumplings have turned out good, with the second time (this time) being borderline fabulous! Although, how they mixture makes eight dumplings, I will never know…
Put the powder mixture into a bowl, add the water it advises on the packet and stir. I find using a knife makes the dumplings super light and this is what stops them from being the stodgy packet ones I was so cautious of. Add the dumplings into the mince and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Whilst this is cooking, I like to have the potatoes boiling and getting ready to mash. For my mashed potatoes I love them to be really rich so add in a scoop of cream cheese, lots of pepper, some salt and a generous splash of whole milk. I also do not like my mash to be too smooth so I am always careful not to over mash!
For the veggies on the plate, I grabbed a steam green pack from my local shop which cooks asparagus, green beans, baby broccoli and peas in a garlic and herb butter and it is down within 4 minutes in the microwave. Don’t judge me, I said this dish was simple for a reason!
I throw the Yorkshire puddings in the oven for a quick couple of minutes and boom! Everything is ready. Served up, there is probably enough for about 4 people here, or two really hungry hogs, like me and my man after a long week at work.
This is one of my favourite meals from my childhood and I was so thrilled when my boyfriend liked it as it is quite a substantial amount of food to make for just one person. What dishes from your childhood do you love to make?