Mince is a great thing. It comes in many varieties: beef, pork, turkey, quorn (although I don’t eat this as I personally don’t like the taste) and many more. It also lends itself perfectly to batch cooking as you can buy it in huge packs for not much money. So, what do you need to know about mince?
Whilst you can eat raw beef, I really recommend you don’t. Even if you follow all basic rules of hygiene, there is still a good chance that there will be bacteria present and you will almost certainly end up ill. You most certainly should NEVER eat raw pork or turkey. Ever. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that!
It is very easy to cook, making it perfect for inexperienced students! Spray a pan with Frylight (or oil if you use that) and just chuck in the mince. Move it around, poke it, break it up… do whatever you want. Tilt the pan backwards after a few minutes to collect the fat and juices from the meat and drain it using a piece of kitchen roll. Just chuck it in the bin and repeat with a new sheet if there is still fat left. You don’t have to do that, I just think it a) makes it healthier and b) stops the final dish from being fatty and greasy.
So, some basic ideas for mince recipes:
- Tacos/Burritos: To be honest, I find the easiest thing when making tacos or burritos is to use a store bought spice mix. Old El Paso are the famous brand but the supermarkets’ own is generally pretty close anyway. Just fry the mince with the spice, along with onions if you fancy that, and then serve with taco shells/wraps, salad, cheese, soured cream… Whatever you like most with your Mexican. Average cost with salad etc: £1.20+ (obviously the more you have with it the more it will cost)
- Homemade Meatballs: This is very simple. Put the mince in a bowl, season with mixed herbs, salt and pepper etc (sometimes, depending on what I plan to serve it with, I also add paprika). Take the mix and roll into balls. They take about 10 minutes to cook, depends on the size of course, and can be frozen and used later. Average cost: around 60p for the meatballs
- Lasagna/Spaghetti base:This is really versatile and can be used as the base of so many dishes that I just can’t name them all today. To make this very simple starting point, fry the mince with some onions, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and 100ml of stock with one oxo cube – just enough to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Season to taste. To this you can add vegetables (carrots, peppers etc.) or a tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce for a bit of extra flavour. Average cost per portion: £1.10
- Chilli Con Carne: This is a classic dish that is another one that is exceptionally easy to make. You do exactly the same as you would for the lasagna/spaghetti base and just add a tin of kidney beans and a tsp of chilli powder (more if you like it hot) to it. Average Cost per portion: £1.40
This is only the start of what you can do with mince. It could be used in many Indian dishes as a part of curries or, like with meatballs, used to make your own healthy burgers. Over the year I will give you lots of other recipes too. Until then, have a great day!