Mince and Potato Gratin is the second of four variations on Basic Bolognese. This dish uses potatoes and cheese in addition to the bolognese sauce. It’s quick to put together but it does take at least an hour and a half to cook. You can prepare it ahead of time and put it in the oven on the timer so it’s ready when you get home. If you’re late, it won’t spoil.
I just love this dish. It feels like something completely different to the basic Bolognese that it’s based on. Just adding potatoes gives it a warming, English-autumn food feel. It’s so simple, what can I say?
Well, let’s talk about potatoes. First, what variety of potato? That could be a whole blog post but, fortunately, this gratin doesn’t really care. I used Maris Piper, which is quite a floury, all-purpose potato, but it didn’t dissolve (as you can see in the picture). What is important is to cut the potatoes finely – about 3mm thick (yes, I did measure them). If they are too thick they won’t cook in the time.
Cheese then. All I can say is the stronger the better when it comes to melted cheese – Extra Mature Cheddar is what I use. You could use a farm-made variety and that would probably taste even better, but I tend to stick to something like Cathedral City when I’m cooking – partly because I use a lot of cheese.
Hold tight for the next recipe in this series in two weeks time, Lasagne, when a lot more cheese will be used.
Mince and Potato Gratin
- 500 g potatoes
- 250 g strong Cheddar cheese
- 1 quantity Basic Bolognese for 4 people
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/ gas mark 5/ 375°F
- Grate the cheese (a coarse grater is fine)
- Scrub the potatoes (or peel them if you really want to). Thinly slice the potatoes. Each slice should be approximately 3mm thickIf the slices are thicker they will not cook in the time
- Lightly grease the dish with butter to stop the potatoes sticking
For the Mince and Potato Gratin:
- Put a single layer of potatoes onto the bottom of the dishThis will be about half the potatoes, or just under
- Spoon/pour all the Basic Bolognese onto the potatoes and level out with the back of a spoon
- Layer the remaining potatoes on the top
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the top with the cheese - make sure all the potato is covered
- Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. The cheese will be golden and the sauce will be bubbling up at the side.
- If you are putting this in the oven ahead of time on the timer, add an extra 10 minutes to the cooking time. The gratin won't spoil if it has to stay longer in the oven, once it's turned off
- If you are cooking this straight from the fridge, put in a cold oven and add 10-15 minutes to the cooking time