Sophie Grigson's recipe for mince in a Bolognese style sauce creates a tasty and versatile base for a myriad of tempting dishes
By Sophie Grigson
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 2 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 675 g lean minced beef
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 red pepper, grilled, skinned and chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper


1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion and the carrot until softened and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds.

2. Increase the heat to high and add half the mince. Fry briskly, breaking up the lumps and turning the meat over, until it is lightly browned. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate.

3. Add the remaining mince to the pan and fry in the same way. When it is cooked, return the first batch to the pan and add the chopped tomatoes, roasted pepper (if using) and all the remaining ingredients. Add 300ml of water. Bring up to the boil and half cover.

4. Simmer gently the mixture gently, stirring from time to time, for about half an hour, adding more hot water as needed. By this time the meat should be tender and most of the liquid evaporated away to leave a delicious moist mush. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (I often add a splash more ketchup or Worcestershire sauce at this stage!).

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