What Is Mince and Potatoes?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Mince and potatoes, which is commonly called mince and tatties, is a traditional dish from Scotland. There are many different ways to prepare this dish, though it is always made with ground beef and potatoes. Carrots, onions, and broth are also commonly part in the dish, giving it a balance of vegetables, protein, and starch. Mince and potatoes is a popular dish in Scotland and around the world because it is easy to prepare, filling, and relatively inexpensive.

The term for ground beef in most English speaking nations is mince, which can be made from a few different cuts of beef that are placed through a mincer and ground into very small pieces. Traditionally, mince and potatoes is made from a lower quality beef, such as a cut from the neck or shoulder of the cow. These cuts of beef are often ground because the meat in these muscle groups is not tender, and grinding it helps soften it. The preparation of this dish traditionally masked the inferior quality of the meat, allowing a large, hearty meal to be prepared. Contemporary versions of the dish are often made with a variety of cuts of meat, including sirloin.


Though there are many different ways to prepare mince and potatoes, most recipes call for the ground beef to be simmered in water or broth until it is cooked through. The resulting dish contains a lot of liquid, and many recipes call for a thickener, such as corn starch or oatmeal. A variety of herbs and spices can be added to the meat portion of the dish, according to the taste of the cook.

It is also common to add vegetables to mince and potatoes. Onions are often added to the mince to add flavor. Root vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, can be thinly chopped and cooked along with the onions. In many traditional Scottish recipes for mince and potatoes, canned peas are also added.

The potatoes in mince and potatoes are usually mashed. The most commonly used potato in this dish is the russet potato, which mashes well without becoming starchy like other types of potatoes. The potatoes are boiled until they are soft. Butter and cream are then usually added as they are mashed to give them a richer flavor.


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