Mince Goblins

OK, so it’s proper name is mince cobbler, but we’ve known it as mince goblins ever since my elder daughter misheard me years ago. The “goblins” are savoury herb scones which are used to top a tasty mince dish. It’s a little more fiddly than some meals: you have to wash up an extra pot from the frying phase. However, it makes a good family meal which is a change from never-ending pasta. My kids love it and you can add to the appeal by making the last piece of pastry into a shape to go in the middle of the dish. Basic flowers are fairly easy; if you’re artistic and more ambitious, you could have a go at animals too!

For this recipe you will need a heavy-bottomed, large frying pan or a flame-proof casserole; an oven-proof serving dish and a food processor (if you have one)  for the scones.

Recipe: Mince Goblins

Summary: A savoury mince dish with herb scones


  • a slosh of sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed; or 1/2 tsp frozen chopped garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1lb / 450g good quality lean, minced beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsps plain flour
  • 1/2pt / 300ml good quality hot beef stock (I use Kallo Organic stock cubes if I have none of my own)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 8oz / 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsps dried herbs
  • 2 oz / 50g hard Tomor, cubed
  • 1/4pt / 150ml unsweetened soya milk
  • beaten egg to glaze


  1. Heat the oil in your pan and add the onion. Fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened, while you chop the carrot.
  2. Add the garlic and carrot and fry for another 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Fry the mince and drain any excess fat.
  5. Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the flour by sprinkling it over everything.
  6. Stir in the flour thoroughly, then add the hot stock and stir again.
  7. Add the tomato purée and the Worcestershire sauce and stir.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and leave for 20 minutes while the oven pre-heats to Gas Mark 4 / 180C.
  10. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent burning.
  11. Meanwhile, put the self-raising flour, the herbs and the Tomor into the food processor and pulse until you have a breadcrumb-like texture.
  12. Add the soya milk a little at a time until you have a soft dough. You may not need all of it.
  13. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and gently squeeze it into a lump. You can then either roll it out very gently or just squidge it flat to a thickness of about 1/2″ / 1cm. The less you handle your dough, the lighter and fluffier your scones will be. Roll the dough out hard and your scones will turn into small rocks.
  14. Using a fluted cutter, cut out the scones ( I usually get about 12 from the dough), gently re-using your trimmings. I make a decorative twiddly bit for the middle of the dish out of the last little bit of dough. It can be your creative moment!
  15. Tip the mince into the final dish and level it off.
  16. Arrange the scones on top of the mince, going down either side of the dish first, then filling in with what you have left. This will vary depending on the size and shape of your dish.
  17. Brush the scones with the beaten egg.
  18. Bake for about 20 minutes until the scones are golden on top.

Quick Notes

This is very good with a green salad and (if you’re starving) a baked potato.

Preparation time (duration): 20 minutes

Cooking time (duration): 1 hour

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

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