Bolognese Meat Loaf

Also known as polpettone. The mixture can also be used to make meatballs. Part of the knack of making this is to keep the mixture quite dry, and to chill the mixture after preparation. The flavour develops well if you give it time.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp white breadcrumbs (I used panko)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated rind of half a lemon
  • Around 5 tbsp milk
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter

METHOD:

  • In a large bowl, mid the meat with the parmesan, cinnamon, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, eggs, lemon juice and lemon rind. Add enough milk to make the mixture moist but not sloppy or sticky.
  • Kneed it well, shape it into a fat sausage shape, coat with more breadcrumbs, cover and chill in the fridge.
  • Heat the oven to 200C
  • Fry the onion in the butter until caramelised, and put it into the base of a tin, or other oven-safe dish of a suitable shape.
  • Put the mince mixture on top of the onions, and bake for around 35 minutes in a hot oven.

Slice and serve hot, with a tomato sauce, or cold, with a salad.

Meatballs recipe 1 (Italian style)

I’ve a few meatball recipes to try, this one was delicious. It is adapted from another recipe that I have, but I needed to cut the quantities down, and make it simpler.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g minced beef
  • 50g breadcrumbs (I used panko) OR stick one slice of stale bread in a blender.
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tomato sauce recipe
  • Fresh basil, if available, or use good quality green pesto sauce
  • 1 pack of mozzarella cheese
  • 50g grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • In a large bowl, mix the mince, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, chilli, rosemary and egg yolk. Season with 1 level teaspoon of salt and a good grating of black pepper. Get your hands right into the mixture and really knead it together so that it is smooth and consistent.
  • Shape into meatballs. I divided the mixture into 16 meatballs, but you could make these into 24 smaller meatballs. Put on a tray, and chill in the fridge until needed.
  • Put the fresh tomato sauce into the bottom of a large shallow casserole dish or other oven-safe dish.
  • Preheat a large flat-bottomed pan, and put in a good quantity of olive oil. Fry the meatballs quickly until they are browned all over. When they are done, put them into the tomato sauce.
  • Cover the meatballs in sauce, top the dish with the cheeses and pesto or basil.
  • Bake in a hot oven 200C for 20 minutes and serve with pasta. We got some posh tagliatelle from the co-op which worked well.

Bobotie – a 19th century recipe for baked mince.

We had this tonight – part of the mince recipe challenge. Very good indeed. I had two helpings. The recipe looks a little odd, but trust me, it is fine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 thick slices of white bread
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2oz raisins or sultanas
  • 25g flaked almonds, or chopped almonds
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 beaten eggs

METHOD:

  • Take the crusts off the bread, and soak it in the milk. Squeeze the milk out of the bread, and keep it for later.
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Peel and chop the onion finely
  • In a large pan, fry the onion in the oil and butter until it is softening but not brown. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the bread, sultanas, beef, almonds, vinegar, sugar, curry powder, salt, herbs, pepper, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the beaten egg. Mix this all together well, and spread it into a greased oven-proof dish.
  • Mix the remaining egg with the reserved milk, and pour it over the top of the mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cut into portions to serve. This is apparently good cold the next day. It is delicious warm. We had this with toast and some braised cabbage.

Venison or beef with port, guinness and pickled walnuts

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas recipe book. It is also available widely online. It is delicious. I serve it with mashed potato, or with potato mashed with celeriac.

The quantities below serve 10-12. It is easy to halve the quantities.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.75 kg venison or beef, cut into flattish cubes around 3cm across
  • 1.2 litres of guinness
  • 275 ml ruby port
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 400g jars of pickled walnuts, drained and quartered
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • The night before, put the meat in a large plastic container with bayleaf, thyme, port and guinness. Seal the top and give the mixture a good shake. A good technique is to put the ingredients in a bowl with a small plate on the top to ensure all the meat is immersed.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven to 140C.
  • Melt half the butter/oil in a casserole dish and heat gently. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade for later. Pat the meat dry before frying off in small batches, until it is browned. Take the meat from the pan as each batch cooks, and set it aside.
  • Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan, and melt together over a moderate heat until it starts to bubble. Add the onions and brown this for around 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to fry for another couple of minutes
  • Return the meat to the casserole dish, stir in the flour, and then pour in the marinade, add the walnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the casserole to a simmer, then put the lid on, and transfer the whole thing to the warm oven for 3 hours.

Chille con Carne

I didn’t make this tonight, but I have tested this recipe often enough to know that it is the best. It is from The Organic Meat Cookbook by Frances Bissell. I’ve had this book for a while, and just about everything that I have made is delicious. This recipe can be made with beef mince, or with finely chopped venison. I don’t like minced venison, just doesn’t work well.

This can be served with rice or bread, with yoghurt as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 680g minced beef or diced venison
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans, or 450g dried beans, scalded and then soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 280ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander or parsley

METHOD:

  • In a large casserole dish, fry the onion in the olive oil until it is golden.
  • Add the mince or finely diced meat, and cook until browned. Stir in the spices so the meat is well-coated.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock and beans, and enough water to ensure all the ingredients are covered.
  • Simmer very slowly in the oven for 3-4 hours.
  • Check the seasoning just before serving, and garnish with chopped herbs.

Minced Meat Curry

One of my stand-by recipe books is a rather unglamorous and battered book, called the Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook. In my quest to cook about 40 different recipes with beef mince, I tried this, and it was delicious. I served it with plain basmati rice, and used up some coconut milk that I had, rather than following the recipe exactly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmerig
  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil, and gently fry the onion.
  • As it becomes well cooked, almost beginning to brown, add the garlic, ginger, chillies and the spices, and stir together until well mixed.
  • Add the meat and continue to cook over a low heat.
  • Once is browned, add the tomato puree, and the coconut milk, mix together and bring back to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for around 1 hour.
  • Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.

Risotto with Beef and Tomato Ragu

You can make this with any left-over bolognese Ragu, or do as I did – make the ragu from scratch. I made double, ate some for tea with pasta, froze some, and made the risotto with the rest. This is from Risotto Risotto.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 slices of unsmoked bacon, chopped
  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 400g can of tomatoes, pureed in the tin
  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 1.5 litres of stock
  • 25g butter
  • 50g grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Make the ragu sauce first, preferably the day before. Fry all the chopped vegetables and bacon in the oil until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the mince and the wine, and fry until the meat is brown and the alcohol has boiled away.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes, bayleaf, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and leave to simmer for 2 hours until rich and dense. Check frequently to ensure that it is not ‘sticking’.
  • Next, add the rice to the ragu, and stir at a simmer until the mixture looks dry.
  • Keep the stock on the boil, and add a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before the next ladleful is added.
  • Continue in this way for around 20 minutes; the rice will be firm and cooked through, and the risotto will be creamy. Take the risotto off the heat, remove the bayleaf, and stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and leave to rest for a few minutes, before transferring to a warmed platter and serving.

Moroccan Beef and Fig Stew

This is one of a series of mince recipes. I have just bought a large quantity of mince from Dr Louise, who is downsizing her herd. Delicious dishes, I’m sure the great quality of the meat has a lot to do with it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 8 dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml stock
  • Coriander leaf, chopped
  • 2 tsps lemon zest

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil or butter in a large pan over a medium heat, and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, paprika, cumin and ras-el-hanout. Stir together and let this gently cook for around five minutes.
  • Add the beef, stir and cook until it is all well mixed, and the mince is browned.
  • Stir in the figs, tomatoes and tomato paste, then pour in the stock. Bring to a simmer, and let it cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the coriander and lemon zest just before serving.

I served this with nan bread.

Goose Bhuna

This recipe was inspired by seeing a bhuna recipe on ‘grubworm’ but when I went to download it, we had an IT failure, so I used a similar bhuna recipe from a book. The flavour is fantastic. The main feature of a bhuna is that the sauce is cooked right down to a sticky paste that adheres to the meat.

Seasoned Pioneers can supply just about any spice or herb that you can’t source locally.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4cm ginger root, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 4 goose breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250ml water
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • freshly chopped coriander leaf to garnish.

METHOD:

  • Toast the spices in a small pan for a minute or two, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Take off the heat, cool, and grind in a pestle and mortar with the salt.
  • Put the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processer and blend until the onion is in small chips.
  • Fry the chopped onion mixture in a little vegetable oil, until the onion is starting to brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and curry leaves, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Add the ground spices, keep stirring, and after five minutes, add the water, and bring back to a simmer.
  • Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a very low heat until the sauce is really thick. This can take quite a while, an hour or so.
  • Meanwhile, around 10 minutes before serving, fry the goose in a very hot pan for around 5 minutes, and then add to the thickened sauce, stir and reduce the sauce further.
  • Sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with the chopped coriander.

Serve with plain rice, and a glass of cold beer. The flavour from the freshly roasted spices is amazing.

Goose Stroganoff

First of the wild goose recipes. I adapted this trom a recipe in Francis Bissell’s book, The Organic Meat Cookbook. The technique of slicing the goose meat into tiny strips and flash-frying them is a good one, and transferrable to other experiments, I think. 

I used the breast meat of a fairly young tender goose. You can estimate the tenderness of the goose by trying to tear the webs – younger geese have softer webbed feet. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 goose breast, around 400g
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x 25g butter
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grate of nutmeg
  • 60g linguine, fettuccine or pappardelle per person 

METHOD:

  • Slice the goose breast into thin strips, about 5cm long and max 1cm across. Season with salt and pepper, and a grate of nutmeg. 
  • Heat 25g of butter in a heavy skillet or similar, and fry the strips of goose meat for a few minutes only, until well-browned. Only fry a handful of strips at a time. Put them in a colander on a plate when done. The goose meat should be underdone on the inside.
  • In the same pan, add the next lot of butter and gently fry the chopped onion until soft. 
  • Add the wine, and simmer until reduced to a third. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil, ready to cook the pasta. 
  • When the wine has reduced, put the pasta on to cook for 8 minutes.
  • Add the cream to the wine and onion in the pan, and season with salt and pepper, and gently cook, to reduce the sauce further. Very gently. 
  • When the sauce is thick and the pasta is nearly done, add 2 tsp lemon juice to the pan, and stir in the meat. Check the seasoning. 

Serve the Stroganoff and noodles garnished with chopped parsley.