January in the Kitchen – Classic Mince AKA Sauteed Hamburger

Mince – Comfort food


Classic Mince or Sauteed Hamburger

This homey dish is a favorite in my household. Ground beef in the U.S. is called hamburger, in other parts of the world it is known as mince.Don’t confuse this dish with a spaghetti sauce or ragu; it is dry not saucy. You should be able to cut a dry path down the middle of your skillet with a spoon.



Mince is one of the most pleasing of comfort foods. During cold, wet weather I make it at least every other week. Make it ahead and it tastes even better a day or two later. Leftovers make an excellent Cottage Pie (Shepard’s pie is made with lamb) with the addition of a mashed potato crust.

Shepard's Pie

Cottage Pie

This recipe comes from the British writer Simon Hopkinson. It’s in his book “Second Helpings of Roast Chicken”. He writes that his mince is related to the traditional Scottish savory mince. I typically serve it with mashed potatoes and a salad. I’ve changed his recipe only slightly. This is not fancy fare but “home” cooking at it’s best.

Classic Mince

  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped medium fine
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped medium fine
  • ½ lb. of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon, cubed
  • 2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (I use Herbs de Provence)
  • 1 small 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (or 4 chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of umami paste or anchovy paste (optional)
  • Salt (kosher) and freshly ground pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed skillet on medium high heat.
  2. Brown the onion in the butter until well colored
  3. Add the carrots and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and reserve
  5. Wipe out the skillet and add the oil.
  6. Heat for a minute on medium high heat; add the ground beef and chopped bacon to the skillet. Sauté until golden brown.
  7. Add the mixed herbs and tomato paste, lover the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes (and their juices), reserved vegetables, water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and umami paste (if using) to the skillet.
  9. Turn the heat down as low as possible and cook, uncovered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

The final product should be rich and thick.

Serve with mashed potatoes or soft polenta.

9 thoughts on “January in the Kitchen – Classic Mince AKA Sauteed Hamburger

  1. Hi Liz. We tried the mince last night and really liked it. Left out the anchovy. I’m wondering what you think about omitting the ketchup and replacing with…more tomato paste?

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