THE quest to cook your family a variety of delicious meals that are affordable and simple to prepare is an ongoing challenge - but there's one cut of beef and lamb that can help solve this. Mince. Not only is mince quick to cook, it can also been cooked in a variety of ways and across cuisines.
The team at BeefandLamb .com.au and butcher Adam Stratton of Tender Gourmet Meats, have pulled together an essential guide on how to pick the right type of mince for any meal.
Choosing the right mince
There are lots of terms to describe mince, but just like picking any cut of beef or lamb, it's important to match the right type to the right cooking method. Mince falls into three main categories:
Low-fat mince: The best choice for minced meat dishes with sauces like beef bolognaise or beef mince stir fries.
Medium-fat mince: The best choice for meatballs, rissoles and kofta as without fat, mince can become crumbly and fall apart. Use for dishes such as Greek lamb burgers or this lamb baklava.
High-fat mince: A good all-purpose choice, just remember to spoon off the fat as you brown the mince. Perfect for recipes such as beef san choy bau and stir-fried plum lamb with soba noodles.
Butcher tips for buying mince
When purchasing and storing mince, butcher Adam Stratton says it's important to remember these tips:
Look for freshness. A nice red colour is what you are after.
What type? For a good quality burger or kofta try and find a coarse mince, with a bit of fat so it all sticks together nicely.
Store it. Due to the mincing process, mince does not keep as long as other cuts such as steak, therefore it should only be stored for up to two days in the fridge or three months in the freezer.
Freeze it. When freezing mince, lay it out flat rather than freezing in balls, as this allows it to freeze and thaw evenly.
How much? When considering the amount of mince, a good guide is 110g to 150g of mince per person. If you're looking for a smaller or larger size don't be restricted to the pre-packed quantities in the store. Your butcher will be happy to produce varying quantities and from specific cuts.
For more mince recipes, go to www.beefandlamb.com.au.
750g lean lamb mince
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 small eggplant, diced
400g diced tomatoes
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
16 sheets filo pastry (375g packet)
Olive oil spray
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp poppy seeds
Baby spinach salad and lemon wedges, to serve
Heat half the olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and cook mince in batches until browned, breaking mince up with a wooden spoon.
Set aside, and cook remaining batches.
In the same pan, add the remaining oil and cook the onion, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add the carrot, fennel and eggplant and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, nuts, spices and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Season and return mince to the pan.
Spray 1 sheet of filo with oil spray and then top with a second. Repeat with 6 more sheets and use to line the base and sides of a shallow slice tin (about 33cm x 23cm).
Arrange the potato slices on the base and spread in the cooled lamb filling, then top with a further 8 sheets of oiled filo. Spray the top with olive oil and mark the top with a sharp knife.
Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is hot and golden.
Serve with baby spinach and lemon wedges.
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