2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 pounds coarse ground sirloin, patted very dry with paper towels
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
Salt and pepper
About 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons butter
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cloudy apple cider or amber beer
2 cups beef stock
1 cup watercress leaves, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag frozen tater tots
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Heat a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat with the oil, two turns of the pan. When the oil ripples, add the meat and brown well, stirring occasionally. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften the vegetables, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and reduce the heat to simmer.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour; cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the cider or beer. Reduce by half, then whisk in the stock and thicken to a loose gravy.
Place the meat and vegetables in a casserole dish and stir in the watercress and gravy. Top with the cheddar and tots, then bake until the tots are golden and crispy on top.