In Memory – Scottish Mince & Tatties for a a comfort food meal that is a family favourite meal my Nana made. It’s a comforting Scottish mince recipe.
This post is in memory of my brother. He passed away very suddenly and tragically in 2008 when he was 28 years old and this week he would have turned 37. This Scottish Mince recipe with Tatties (or just plain “Mince” as we called it) was his favourite meal that our Nana would make him.
I don’t want to go on for very long about this dark period in my life. I don’t like talking about it, I don’t like writing about it. What I much prefer to do is remember the good times with my brother and I know that he would have always wanted me to choose hope, love, and happiness above of sitting in the depths of grief.
The instant I start making this meal, I can recall what the dinner plates looked like at my grandparent’s house. I remember the stash of Scottish mints in their car. But most of all, I remember my brother enjoying this meal with such delight (he wasn’t the best eater in our family, that was clearly my role).
Isn’t funny how a taste or a smell can take you so far back down memory lane? My youngest daughter is the most like my brother. The twinkle in their eyes, their joy for life, the glee over this dish. Lucy went crazy for it and would not stay down off the table long enough for me to photograph it. So, not only do you get see this bowl of tastiness, but you get to see a lot of Lucy’s tiny hands.
Scottish Mince and Tatties is basically ground meat and potatoes. There are countless (and often controversial) versions of the recipe. The recipe shown here is the closest I can get it to my Nana’s. She sadly passed away a number of years before my brother and so I’ve been trying to replicate it while carefully questioning any Scottish person I run into about this dish since I don’t have a solid referral source for it.
I will say that using OXO gravy mix was the turning point for me. If you’ve never had this dish before, then I don’t think the type of beef broth you use will matter all that much. Since I grew up on it, the slight nuances are a factor for me and that’s why I use that mix specifically. The vegetables are a big controversial portion of the dish. I like it with more vegetables versus less. I pack onion, carrots and peas into the dish for some sort of nutritional value. Even when I have all this veg, I still usually serve a simple green salad on the side. My kids always eat salad so it’s an easy out for me.
My husband obviously loves this dish; it’s literally meat and potatoes so he’s very pleased when he arrives home from work to this on the dinner table. Baby Lucy totally went crazy for this dish. She loves meat and potatoes so it’s not a stretch to assume she would be into it, I was surprised at the quantity she ate of it. A lot. The 3 year olds were into the meat portion of this dish. One loved the entire dish and the other loved the meat portion (she doesn’t like potatoes unless they are french fries).
Other comfort food meals:
Comfort food of mince and potatoes! Ground beef is cooked in a luscious gravy and served over classic mashed potatoes.
- 1 lb (454 gr) extra lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup beef broth (I use OXO Beef and I use 2 small packages (4.5 grams each) per 1 cup of water)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces (around 5 cm)
- 1 cup fresh, canned or frozen peas
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 medium dried bay leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Brown beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon if necessary. Once beef starts to brown add onions to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until vegetables start to soften, but not brown. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add wine and deglaze pan by scraping the bottom with spoon. Allow wine to reduce and evaporate by more than half.
Sprinkle cornstarch over beef and vegetables, and stir to fully coat ingredients (and avoid any cornstarch lumps).
Slowly add beef broth, starting with a tablespoon or two and gradually increasing quantity. Once broth is added, bring pot to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Add carrots, peas and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until carrots have reached desired tenderness.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place potatoes and bay leaves (if using) into a large sauce pan and cover with 2-3" of cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook for around 20-25 minutes until tender.
Drain water and let potatoes air dry in the strainer (do not rinse!). Add milk and butter to pan and cook over low heat until butter has melted and milk has warmed. Return potatoes to mean with milk and butter and mash until desired consistency has been reached. Season with salt and pepper
Serve mince over tatties and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.