This is lovely old fashioned fodder.  A one-pot dinner with no frills.  Delicious! 

Nicol Williamson appears in the first ever Columbo I remember seeing.  The one about the attack dogs, “How to Dial a Murder”, do you know it?  Brilliant! 


I think this would be a great dish to serve friends, with a screening of this episode, with a nice pile of green vegetables on the side:

Nicol Williamson's Beef and Potatoes

If like me you make it with bog standard mince rather than finest steak, and use beef dripping instead of butter or bacon drippings, it’s probably best if you use a slotted spoon to serve, I had quite a lot of liquid in the bottom of my dish.  Mmm, wish I had a plateful of this in front of me right now though, and I’ve just had my lunch!

I am slightly obsessed with James Whelan’s Beef Dripping.   Members of the Guild of Food Writers were raving about it on the Google Group a couple of months ago, so I said to Mr R that the only thing I wanted for my birthday was some of this dripping.  Lovely fellow that he is, he bought me three great big tubs, sent by post from Ireland no less.


so I used some in this recipe instead of butter/bacon drippings.  I wasn’t sure what Nicol meant about making a fence with the potatoes, so I did this…


Here’s the recipe!

4 large potatoes, peeled, cut in large pieces (I only had diddy ones so I sliced them after cooking)

1 and 1/2 lbs lean top quality steak (cut in coarse mince by hand or meat chopper)

1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon of butter (or bacon drippings)

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

About 1/2 cup water, stock or beef broth

1 beef bouillon cube (optional, but I put in an extra Oxo cube because I LOVE THEM)

1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt

Ground pepper to taste

Butter, optional*

Parboil potatoes for a few minutes in boiling water, drain and set aside.

Cook mince steak and onion in the butter or bacon drippings, just until the meat begins to turn brown. Remove from heat.  Remove meat-onion mixture from skillet.  Reserve pan drippings.

Grease a 1 and 1/2 quart glass (or metal) baking dish with butter (or bacon drippings).  Arrange layer of meat-onion mixture on the bottom of the casserole.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Top with layer of carrots, season with salt and pepper.  Repeat layers until all the ingredients have been used.

Heat water (or stock or beef broth) in skillet in which meat and onion have been cooked.  For added flavour dissolve bouillon cube in water (or stock) in skillet.  Pour heated liquid over vegetables in casserole.

Arrange potato pieces on top of vegetables and meat to form a “fence”.  Salt and pepper lightly.  Cover, bake in preheated 300 degrees F. oven (150 C, gas mark 2) for 45 minutes.  Remove cover and allow to cook 30 minutes longer (or until potatoes are browned and tender).  Serves 4.

* this optional butter didn’t crop up again in the recipe.  My guess was that this should be dotted over the potatoes once the lid had come off the casserole so the potatoes would brown nicely so that’s what I did.

YUM!  Thanks Nicol!

Nicol Williamson

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