Beef mince on dripping toast


A St John classic, this dish of gently simmered beef mince ladled over crunchy, dripping-soaked toast is a celebration of bovine flavours. Perfect for an indulgent snack or lunch when you're after some serious satisfaction.

This recipe is taken from The Book of St John by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver (Ebury, £30).

First published in 2019





Splash the olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and sweat the onion, leek, celery, carrot and garlic cloves until softened
  • 1 celery, sliced across
  • 1 dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, cleaned, sliced lengthways in half, then sliced across
  • 1 carrot, peeled, sliced lengthways in half, then sliced across
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
Add the mince, breaking it up as it cooks, then add the tomatoes. These should be crushed in your hand as you add them, a squeeze, again a gentle gesture; to purée the tomatoes would be a different thing entirely. Keep stirring as you sprinkle in your handful of oatmeal, then add the Worcestershire sauce and red wine. Add a little salt and pepper, stir again, and simmer gently for 1 ½ to 2 hours
As you cook the mince should take on a wobble of thickness, the vegetables expressing themselves while starting to become very much part of the whole. If it is looking too stiff, a ladle of chicken stock should return its lava-like qualities
  • chicken stock, if needed
When the mince is nearly ready, make the dripping toast by shallow-frying the bread in rendered beef dripping. Turn the bread every 30 seconds until golden brown, then place onto plates
  • beef dripping, for shallow frying
  • 4 slices of white bread, top quality, a day old and 1-2cm thick
Spoon the hot mince over your dripping toast, with a spoonful of horseradish on the side
  • horseradish sauce, to serve

One of the most important, recognisable and beloved chefs of modern times, Fergus Henderson championed the nose-to-tail sustainable eating philosophy that has guided British food into a golden age.

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