Mushroom, Bacon & Ale Casserole, 28p

Mushroom, Bacon and Ale Casserole, 56p, serves 2 at 28p per portion.

I’ve got three of a four pack of very cheap Bitter under my sink from making this bread, so decided to put one to use with a hearty winter warming dinner. Along with my trusty cheap bacon (£1.09 for 670g of perfectly good bacon) and some of that £1 veg pack I’m always banging on about, I have to say for 28p per person for a meal with meat in, I’m really quite pleased with this!

Vegetarians can omit the bacon and add half a can of chopped tomatoes instead, and replace the beef stock with vegetable stock.

I made a curried vegetable soup out of the remaining ‘halves’ of all of the vegetables listed below, and the recipe will be listed here shortly!


100g bacon, 16p (£1.09/670g)
Garlic clove, 3p (2 bulbs for 46p, avg 8 cloves each)
1/2 onion, 3p (part of a 1.25kg vegetable pack, £1)
1/2 potato, 3p (part of a 1.25kg vegetable pack, £1)
1/2 carrot, 3p (part of a 1.25kg vegetable pack, £1)
260ml bitter, 15p (4x440ml cans for £1)
1 beef stock cube, 1p (10p for 10)
50g mushrooms, 12p (97p/400g)

How To:

1. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Add to a sauté pan or heavy bottomed saucepan.

2. Chop the bacon into small pieces, I do mine the size of tiny pancetta squares, but it’s up to you. Add to the pan with the onion and garlic and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly to make sure nothing sticks to the pan. You can add oil as an optional extra but I prefer to do without, making this healthier and cheaper.

3. When the bacon is sealed (the outside edges are cooked and no raw bit of bacon are poking through), pour over the bitter, and leave the rest of the can to one side to make this bread with.

4. Chop the potato and carrot, and slice the mushrooms, and add to the pot. Add the beef stock cube, fistful of thyme, and water to cover.

5. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

6. Serve with mash and green veg – I’m going to do mine with some of the savoy cabbage kicking about in the fridge…

Make It Posh variations:

1. Add chopped tomatoes instead of water to step 4, for a more hearty base.

2. Play around with herbs. This would also work well with bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, sage or a combination of whatever you have growing on your window sill.

Will keep in the fridge for a few days or freezes for around 3 months.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe.

*(Prices calculated at Sainsburys, using the Basics range where available. Costs checked on date of publication against ASDA SmartPrice, Tesco Value, Morrisons Value and Waitrose Essentials. Some variation between major supermarkets but most items widely available at similar price.)


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