Minced meat is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many recipes to create a delicious meal. You can use minced turkey if you’re looking to reinvent a classic in a slightly healthier way, or stick to much-loved beef and pork mince. Whether you’ve got hours to spend cooking up a feast or only 20 minutes to pull something together, there is a perfect minced meat recipe out there for you. Read on to discover five delicious ways to use it now!
How to mince meat
It’s important to choose a cut of meat with some fat on it if you’re going to mince it. If you’d like to mince your own meat, you can easily do so with a good butcher’s knife or a food processor. To mince using a knife, start by slicing your meat at a 45 degree angle but don’t cut all the way through. Turn it over and then slice in the opposite direction, again not all the way through. Flip your meat over again and slice directly down (but don’t cut all the way through!) Flip for a final time and again slice directly down in the opposite direction (so the last direction that hasn’t been sliced) and you can now slice all the way down. The aim is to slice your meat into the tiniest pieces possible.
If that’s a bit too complicated, try the O’Connor beef mince from Meatsmith. It’s delicious premium grass-fed beef that contains 20% fat and is perfect for the following recipes.
Mince meat recipes
Minced meat is used in cuisines around from Italian to Indian to Chinese and beyond. There are so many ways to use this ingredient, whether you’re using beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or veal. Here are five tasty ways to add it to your next dinner.
Perhaps the most classic, well-known way to make use of minced meat is in an Italian-style ragu or more colloquially known as a bolognese. The traditional recipe hails from Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, but ask for a spaghetti bolognese there and you’ll likely get a few blank stares as it’s called ‘ragu’ in Italy. Every family has their own recipe and secret way of making it, but there are a few constants in every recipe. A mix of good minced beef and pork, and slow cooking to make it as tender as can be.
Recreate your own ragu with a mix of 500g minced beef to 250g minced pork. The pork helps to give some extra fat and flavour to the dish. For extra flavour, you can also add in 100g diced pancetta.
Sautee a diced onion, carrot and stick of celery in some oil for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan and frying your meat on a high heat. Cook it in batches as the meat releases water during cooking and you don’t want to broil it. When the meat is well browned, add your vegetables back in with a glass of red wine. Allow the wine to cook off for a minute over a high heat, before lowering the temperature and adding a bottle (750g) of tomato passata. Add a bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and reduce your heat to low before allowing to cook slowly for two hours. Halfway through the cooking, add a few tablespoons of warm milk for extra richness.
Quick and easy to prepare, hamburgers are an easy way to make the best of minced meat. To prepare your own hamburgers, all you need to do is mix your minced meat with diced onion, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and combine with a whisked egg. Mix well and then take tablespoons of mixture to shape into a patty. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so they’ll hold their shape. When ready to cook, fry your patties in some olive oil in a frying pan before assembling your perfect burger.
- Polpette or meatballs
Polpette are delicious Italian-style meatballs. There are of course many different recipes for these tasty balls, but they are very easy to recreate at home. The basic polpette recipe calls for a mix of beef and pork mince, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, minced garlic, milk, salt and pepper. All the main ingredients are combined and then rolled into little balls the size of a golf ball. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and into a hot oven for 20 minutes or so. You should turn them over halfway through cooking so they are brown on both sides. Meanwhile, prepare a simple sugo (or tomato based sauce) in a wide saucepan. When the polpette are finished in the oven, transfer into your saucepan and allow to cook for 45 minutes or so. It’s delicious with a drizzle of best-quality balsamic sauce!
- Beef Mince Curry
Another classic way to celebrate minced meat is in a curry. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to throw together, try this. Heat up some oil in a saucepan and saute a diced onion. Add your mince to the pan and fry until browned. Be sure to break up the mince with your wooden spoon in the pan. Add ⅓ cup of curry paste, diced tomatoes, a can of coconut milk and allow to simmer away. Serve with steamed rice and a fresh cucumber salad.
- Carne cruda
This is a traditional recipe from the Piemonte region of Italy where I live and ideal on a hot summer’s evening. It calls for really good quality meat, as you’ll be eating it raw. The name of this dish literally translates as ‘raw meat’ and is typically made from Piemontese beef. Purists will only eat carne cruda with Ligurian olive oil and salt, to savour the taste of the minced meat. If you want to jazz it up a little though, you can combine minced beef with minced garlic, diced capers, diced red onion, lemon juice and olive oil for a delicious variation. It goes perfectly with grilled bread.