250 g minced (ground) beef
1 kg baby potatoes
2 - 4 g dried mushrooms
1 brown onion
3 cloves garlic
half tsp ground fenugreek seed
fresh baby green beans
a leaf of silver beet
carrot greens or parsley
half tsp golden syrup
50g - 100g sharp cheddar
half cup fine grated parmesan
half cup fine grated grana padano or romano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp beef dripping
1 tin diced tomatoes (or 3 cups diced fresh tomato, seeds and all)
2 beef stock cubes
half cup red wine
Peel and crush the garlic, add a pinch of salt, set aside, Dice the onion coarsely and place in a heavy bottom saucepan with the oil and dripping. Begin to fry until onion is tramslucent, add the mince and the dried mushrooms, continue to fry until liquid has evaporated and things start to fry again, add the garlic, fenugreek, and chopped greens. Stir well and keep the heat on for a further three minutes,
Now add the tomatoes, beans, golden syrup, red wine, and stock cubes, stir until simmering, turn down heat, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes while you boil the baby potatoes in plenty of salted water.
Turn off the sauce after twenty minutes, check the potatoes for doneness, they should be cooked soft enough to eat. Drain the potatoes.
In a casserole or other oven proof dish, ladle in enough sauce to about half cover the potatoes. Lay potatoes in the sauce until dish is about three quarters covered, then gently squash each potato, the idea is that they should finish just level with the surface of the sauce when all squashed. Experience is the best guide here.
Now cover the surface of the sauce and potatoes with the cheddar cheese, then sprinkle over the parmesan and padano (or romano) either in layers or in stripes or other patterns.
Place in a hot (210C/410F) oven for 20 minutes then transfer the dish to the griller (broiler) to brown up any cheese that hasn't browned yet. Allow to cool down slightly.
No special instructions.
Fresher is better. I managed to source locally grown onions and garlic, MILES better than supermarket produce. The beans came from our garden about an hour earlier ad did the silver beet, and the carrot tops (greens) and basil came from a local farm.
Use a nice red wine for this, it's sooo worth it! And as to the cheeses - you need a base of cheddar and then a stronger cheese or two over it.
Lastly - if you leave this in the oven for too long, the potatoes will be cooked mushy. If too short, they won't have had time to absorb some of the sauce liquid. Hence twenty minutes at 210C, But the cheeses need to be brown - hence the few minutes under the griller.