Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mince, Tomato & Onions with Mashed Spuds

You'd be suprised how delicious this simple meal really is. I had it fairly regularly growing up, in fact I remember one time my parents were out, and it was just the three youngest children at home. My sister and brother are 11 and 9 years older than me, respectively, and my brother decided he would cook this dish for us. I think he might have been about 17 or so? Anyway, he started out with Mum's big square Sunbeam electric frypan full of mince and tomatoes and onions, but by the time it reached the table it was only a quarter full. Now, sure, you could blame it on the natural shrinkage of the tomatoes as they cooked, but it turned out my brother was seasoning as he went along. Of course, every time he adjusted the seasoning, he had to taste it again didn't he? My sister and I didn't get much dinner that night, but for some reason my brother didn't mind the small serving...

Mince, Tomato & Onions
500g mince
1-2 onions, diced
4-5 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
mashed potatoes to serve

Fry onions until just starting to turn translucent. Add mince and brown. Add tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are almost starting to break down, or until your mashed potatoes are ready. Don't let them get too mushy, this is not a ragu, and you aren't making pasta sauce here.

See? Not mushy.

You can of course season this to taste, but learn from my brother's example and wait until the end to do so. Not only is it very hard to stop eating this once you have started, every addition of salt will draw more water from the tomatoes, making it effectively less tasty. But don't go overboard with your seasoning, a little salt, a bit of freshly ground pepper is all it really needs. All your favourite Mediterranean herbs and mixes will taste nice with this of course, but the essence of this dish is how the three ingredients create so much flavour with so little. Especially if it is Summer, as you in the Northern hemisphere have now, with the fresh garden ripe tomatoes that must be in abundance. I had to go with canned, as the hard, white-inside, imported tomatoes available at the supermarket as staple winter fare here didn't tempt me. But you guys have no excuse.