Italian-inspired beef casserole

    30 min

    Lemon and fennel bring wonderfully fresh flavours to familiar braised mince in this Italian-inspired dish, making this as good for al fresco summer dining as for a light supper on a winter evening. Serve plenty of bread or rolls to mop up the deliciously tangy tomato sauce, plus a crisp leafy salad.

    7 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 340 g (12 oz) extra lean mince
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) potatoes, scrubbed and finely diced
    • 2 tins chopped tomatoes, about 400 g each
    • 150 ml (5 fl oz) chicken stock, bought chilled or made from a cube
    • finely shredded zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
    • 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
    • 100 g (3½ oz) frozen green beans
    • salt and pepper
    • To garnish
    • chopped leaves reserved from the fennel bulb
    • chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:30min 

    1. Place the mince, onion and garlic in a large saucepan and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mince is broken up and evenly browned.
    2. Stir in the potatoes, tomatoes with their juice, stock, half the lemon zest, the sugar and a little seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure that the potatoes cook evenly.
    3. Stir in the fennel, frozen beans and lemon juice. Cover the pan again and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the fennel and beans are lightly cooked, but still crisp.
    4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then spoon the mixture into serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining lemon zest, the chopped fennel leaves and flat-leaf parsley.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C. Good source of folate, iron. Useful source of niacin, potassium, selenium, vitamin B1.

    Some more ideas

    Carrots and canned beans can be used instead of potatoes. Add 1 can cannellini or black-eyed beans, about 400 g, drained and rinsed, and 250 g (8½ oz) finely diced carrots. * Use minced turkey, chicken, pork or lamb instead of beef. * If serving this dish to young children, do not add the lemon juice. Instead, serve with lemon wedges so the juice can be added to suit their taste.

    Plus points

    Extra lean minced beef contains 9.6 g fat per 100 g (3½ oz). Provided you use a heavy-based or good-quality non-stick pan, there is no need to add any fat when browning minced meat. * Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C – fresh raw tomatoes contain 17 mg per 100 g (3½ oz) and canned tomatoes about 12 mg. * Scrubbing potatoes rather than peeling them retains vitamins and minerals found just beneath the skin. The skin also provides valuable fibre. * Frozen green beans are convenient and versatile for everyday dishes. hey are a useful source of fibre and a good source of folate, which is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Folate may also contribute to protection against heart disease.

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    Reviews in English (3)


    Altered ingredient amounts. didnt put in the complete fennel(bottled it) next time i will as it detracted from the taste somewhat. Added carrots and mushrooms and some double cream lovely.  -  29 Jun 2009


    Simple, tasty dish. A bit like cottage pie. A good way to use up vegetables (we used courgette/zucchini instead of beans). A quick family meal.  -  30 Jul 2011


    nice but it will not blow your socks off.  -  29 Jun 2009