There are some recipes that promise so much from the outset. Their list of ingredients is as envious as the impressive cast of stars in a Hollywood blockbuster. You know the kind of recipes that I mean … the ones, for example, that contain two and a half bars of best 70% chocolate with … well, anything really. You’d have to try SO hard to turn that into a dud.
But not all recipes have a Hollywood cast of ingredients … sometimes the unexpected, low-budget movie can be a winner too.
Enter ‘Holiday Hotpot’ – stage left.
Read the ingredients first and this is not a dish that promises the world … minced beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, stock cubes, water – it’s not grabbing me so far. But there are also a couple of other ingredients lurking in the sidelines … These are the ones that make the difference and turn this hotpot from a school dinner disaster into a delicious, tasty, family supper – Worcestershire sauce and baked beans (yes, really!). I’d also not underestimate the value of that sprinkling of parsley at the last moment – it’s the va-va-voom to lift you to a new culinary place.
But it’s true to say that a leap of faith is required here for sure. You need to go with me on this one. Have a try – you won’t regret it I promise.
The recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food magazine. I first made it years ago while on holiday in Bosherston, Pembrokshire and it has become a popular choice ever since. It is best served in a bowl and eaten like soup with a spoon. Bread for dunking is essential.
And in case you’re still not sure – here are 10 reasons why I think Holiday Hotpot will quickly become a favourite in your family meal repertoire.
- It’s very cheap.
- It’s quick and easy – the only browning required is the mince.
- It’s a one pot dinner.
- It scales up beautifully so you can double up and have that smug feeling of knowing that dinner is ready for tomorrow too.
- Overnight the liquid will thicken and develop from a ‘broth’ on Day 1 to a ‘gravy’ on Day 2 – two different meals in one.
- And if you want to make more of a difference to Holiday Hotpot Day 2 – throw in a few frozen peas and soya beans at the end of the reheating … the pop of colour is beautiful too.
- It’s great in a soup flask for school lunch the next day – cut the potatoes up a little to make it slightly easier to manage.
- It freezes like a dream.
- It cuts across all the generations – squash down the potatoes with a fork for toddlers; serve it with some soft, nutty bread for carb hungry teenagers and for the grandparents, finish it off with a cup of tea!
- It really is ‘gorgeous food – no fuss’ …
- 2 onions, each cut into eight wedges
- 300g carrots, roughly chopped
- 750g small, waxy potatoes - cut into even sized chunks
- 500g lean minced beef
- 2 beef stock cubes or 4 tsp beef stock powder
- 2 x 400g cans of baked beans
- a splash of Worcestershire sauce
- handful of roughly chopped parsley
- Put the kettle on to boil.
- Heat a large, heavy based pan (I use a Le Creuset) on the hob. Add the mince and fry quickly, stirring all the time, until evenly browned. Crumble in the stock cubes or powder and mix well.
- Add the prepared onions, carrots and potatoes, stir them around and then top up the pan with hot water from the kettle until the vegetables just peep above the water level slightly. Bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 mins until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the baked beans and a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce. Heat through.
- Taste and season if necessary.
- Scatter over the parsley, then ladle the hotpot into bowls.
- Serve with extra Worcestershire sauce and soft bread for dunking.