Cowboy Casserole

500g of extra lean ground beef (2 1/2 pounds)
olive oil spray
a knob of butter
1 large leek, split, washed and thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or 3 tsp Gourmet Garden crushed garlic)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs (thyme, summer savoury, marjoram)
2 dessert spoonful’s of tomato ketchup
a good splash of Worcestershire sauce
a good splash of mushroom ketchup
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (340g) tin of sweet corn, drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tin of condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
125ml of whole milk (1/2 cup)
4 heaped TBS sour cream
8 ounces strong cheddar cheese, divided (2 cups)
1 1/2 bags of frozen potato nuggets (tater tots)

Spray a large and deep nonstick pan with some cooking spray.  Add the beef and scramble fry, cooking until it is no longer pink and any liquid is totally evaporated.  Add the knob of butter and continue to cook,  until it begins to turn golden brown in places.  Add the leek, onion, garlic, and herbs.  Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are wilted.  Stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, corn, soup, milk, sour cream and 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Heat through.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not let it dry out.  You want it slightly loose.  (If you are making it a day ahead, pour it into a plastic container at this point, cover and refrigerate.   The next day spread it into a 9inch by 13 inch glass baking dish which you have buttered and allow to come to room temperature before proceeding.)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.

Scatter the frozen potato nuggets over top of the meat mixture.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.  Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer until golden brown and the meat mixture is bubbling nicely.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Serve hot.  I like to serve this with some salad and green beans.