Food corner

"To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."

Somerset Maugham

Twitter feed
Aleppo pepper Alicante all spice almond anchovy apple apricot Argentina artichokes asparagus aubergine autumn avocado bacon banana Bangkok barbecue basil bay leaf beef beetroot bergamot berry biscuit bistro bloggers blue cheese Bolivia Borough Market bread breadcrumbs British budget budwig diet Buenos Aires buffalo sauce bulgar wheat burrata butter cabbage cafe cake Calais capers caramel caraway cardamom carrot cauliflower champagne chard cheddar cheese chicken chickpeas chicory chilli chocolate chorizo Christmas cinnamon clams cloves cobnut cocoa coconut cooking class Copenhagen Córdoba coriander cornflakes Corsica cottage cheese courgette flowers crayfish cream cream cheese creme fraiche cucumber culinary catastrophe cumin currants daikon Dalmatia dates delivery dessert dill dips dough Dubrovnik Easter easy Edinburgh egg eggplant fennel festive feta fettuccine ffine bean fflour Filipino filo fine dining Finsbury Park fish fish sauce five spice flour food aid food anthropology food tour French game garlic gastropub gherkin ginger gluten free goat's cheese goat's curd golden syrup greengage Guinness halloumi ham Hanoi harissa hazelnut hibiscus Hoi An hominy honey horseradish humanitarian relief Indian Islington Istanbul Italian jam Japanese juniper Kent ketchup kielbasa kinilaw Korean lamb langoustine leek lemon lemongrass lentils lime linseed llime lobster London loquat Madrid market mascarpone Mayfair Mendoza Mexican mid-range milk mint mirin mixed peel mixed spice monk's beard morcilla mozzarella mushroom mussels mustard mustard seed Nahm Natoora Nepalese New Nordic New Year's Day New Zealand noras nose-to-tail NYC oats olive olive oil onion orange Oxfordshire oxtail paprika Paris Parmesan parsley party pastry peanut pear peas pepper Peru Philippines pickle pine nuts pistachio pizza pomegranate pomegranate molasses pop-ups pork Porto Vecchio potato prawn preserved lemon prosciutto Provence providore prunes Puerto Iguazú pulse pumpkin purple sprouting broccoli quail egg quick radish ragu raisins ramen ras el hanout raspberries red pepper paste red wine refugees restaurant rhubarb ribs rice ricotta rocket rosemary runner bean saffron sage San Sebastian sausage scallops seafood shallot short and sweet slow-cooked smoked mackerel smoked salmon sorrel souffle soy spaghetti spinach spring squid ssauces St Basil's Day stilton stock street food sugar sumac summer supper club Sydney syrup Tabasco tagliatelle tahini take away tamarind tarragon tart Thai thyme toffee tom yum paste tomato tomato paste tray bake tuna Turkey veal vegetarian versatile Vietnam Vietnamese vinegar walnut water chestnut white pepper wine wings winter yoghurt
« Dad's Empanadas | Main | Hot Cross Buns »

Dad's Mexican mince

I had a craving for my Dad’s Mexican mince recently. We used to get so excited when we were little and came in the door to that unmistakable smell of stewing meat and spices.

Before I moved to the UK it was one of several recipes I made my Dad make in front of me so that he couldn’t “forget” any ingredients. To this day, I still haven’t quite managed to master his “benchmark aioli” and I have always thought that maybe there is something he is not telling me. The Mexican mince, on the other hand, I watched him make step-by-step so there was no room for items to be lost in translation.

Apart from the optional ingredients, this is to the letter. That isn’t to say that it is traditional – I have no idea, my Dad isn’t Mexican – but it tastes damned good and better than any I’ve tried elsewhere, but I have to admit that I haven’t been to Mexico so, until then, I will reserve judgement.

Dad used to serve this as part of a self-service taco spread along with guacamole, refried beans, chunky tomato salsa, shredded lettuce, soured cream and grated cheese. If I can’t be bothered making refried beans as well, I add some red kidney beans to the mince. This makes a more substantial mince which is great  on nachos or as a chilli con carne with rice.

This recipe makes enough mince to serve around 12 people for a big taco spread, but if you are making it for less, it’s great to have leftovers to use in the above dishes and it freezes well if not.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g beef mince
1 cup white wine
1 thumb ginger (3cm approx.), peeled and grated
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
Chicken stock, vegetable stock or water, as required
3 tsp chipotle chilli paste, or to taste
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika, or to taste
3 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
2-3 dried Mexican chillies, e.g. Guanjillo or Ancho, soaked, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained (optional)
Juice of half a lime, or to taste
Salt, to taste
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped 


Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover and sweat until soft, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beef mince. Stir constantly to break it up until cooked through.

Add the wine and leave it to bubble and reduce for a minute or two. Add the ginger, tomatoes and enough stock or water to cover the mince. 

Add the chipotle chilli paste, paprika, cumin and chillies if using. Stir to combine.

As with any stewed meat dish, this is better the longer it cooks. Simmer for as long as you can, but for a minimum of 2 hours, topping up with stock or water as required, to stop it burning.

When you are getting close to serving, allow most of the moisture to evaporate, so that it is like a thick ragu. Add the kidney beans if using. Add the lime juice and stir through, then season with salt, to taste. Check the other seasonings too and add more spices as required.

Finally, stir in some freshly chopped coriander just before serving.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Ooh yes wonderful. I must nudge Dad to cook it for me. More recently he has served pulled pork with Mexican, also delicious.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMa

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>