Sometimes we all need a little comfort food. Most of the time for me.
Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes comfort food, sticky pudding, rich stew, crusty pies or fiery curries...the list is endless, but one constant for most people is the need for richness and flavour.
Nothing combines these two quite like lasagne, from the heady red wine and beef stock meat to the silky, unctuous cheese of the bechamel, this one has it all and enough veg to make a dent in your 5 a day.
500g minced beef or bison.
1 large onion (diced fine).
4 garlic cloves (crushed).
3 carrots (diced fine).
3 sticks celery (diced fine).
Half a tube of tomato puree.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
2 large sweet potatoes.
500g grated cheddar.
1 cup cream (any sort).
1 tsp arrowroot powder.
A glass of Red wine.
Splash of balsamic vinegar.
Fry the meat in a little fat (I use duck fat for this, but any saturated fat is safe).
While that's browning, put the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and basil in a food processor and blitz it up until it's chopped to your liking, then add to the pan containing the meat and lower the heat to sweat all the veg a while.
After about 5-10 minutes, stir in the tomato puree, then, after a minute or so, add a little chilli, salt and pepper, then the tomatoes and stock.
Top up with wine and water so its nice and runny, bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour or so. (I throw it in the oven at 120C for an hour and a half, but you can bung it in a slow cooker while you go to work if you like).
While that's cooking, peel 2 big sweet potatoes and slice them really thin on a mandolin (or use your peeler if you don't have one).
Next up, grate all your cheese and gently bring the cream to a simmer in a small pan.
Add 1/3 of the cheese and stir it in.
Simmer gently for 5 minutes or so, then add 1tsp of arrowroot powder to a small glass of cold water (about a shot glass or so) and throw it in.
Stir well, remove from the heat.
To assemble, ladle a half of the meat sauce into an oven dish, then carefully cover with the slices of sweet potato, pour half the bechemel sauce over and sprinkle a 1/2of the remaining cheese on top.
Ladle the rest of the meat in, then cover as before, meat, sweet potato, bechemel and cheese.
Put it in a medium oven (140-160C) for half an hour, then whack the heat up to 220 for 10 minutes until nicely browned.
When you take it out, just leave it for 5 minutes or so for the sauce to thicken a little, then dish up.
This should feed 5 or 6 greedy cave people.