“Bored of the normal minced-beef-and-potato combination and want to jazz it up a little? I took inspiration from Delia for this one, and added my own little flair to make a dish that's simple to make and gorgeous for any winters' evening, be it as a dinner party or an intimate meal for two. A mature cheddar is best for the topping, and try to buy the proper English stuff, not the horrid plastic stuff they often try to pass off as it in other countries! If you can't get Serrano ham, use Parma, Iberico or any other strong-flavoured cured ham. I prefer the extra fine slices, but you may prefer to experiment with thicker.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and simmer for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  2. Add the minced beef, breaking up any chunks, and cook until well browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, breaking up into smaller pieces, tomato puree, stock cube, herbs and spices and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the Armagnac (you can flame it if you wish, but this isn't necessary as the alcohol will boil off anyhow) and the red wine.
  5. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into approx 1.5inch cubes and place in a pan of salted cold water. Place the pan, covered, over a high heat until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  7. Once potatoes are tender, drain and cover with a teatowel for several minutes.
  8. Add the butter to the potatoes (NO MILK!) and use an electric whisk to mash them. Try to leave a bit of body for texture, rather than making them completely smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper if required.
  9. Place the cooked meat in an ovenproof dish and cover completely with the potato. Sprinkle the leeks over the potato and cover with the cheese.
  10. Finally, lay the strips of serrano over the top and place in a preheated oven (200C) for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden, and the serrano has gone crispy.
  11. Serve with warm country bread. Yummy.

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a