Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: mince

Best Cottage Pie

Still the best.

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 celery stick chopped
  • 1tbs oil

Sweat in oil until the onion is softening

  • 500gm steak mince

Cook with the vegetables, stirring until all pink has gone

  • 2 tbs tomato puree or half a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml beef stock (Oxo cube is fine)
  • Season well with salt and black pepper

Cover and simmer the beef mince while you peel enough potatoes to make a mash to cover. The quantity here is debatable. You want enough potato to cover the top of the dish, but you could bulk up with more to make the dish stretch further. Boil the potato and mash them when cooked, adding a bit of milk and butter if they are a bit dry.

Put the oven on to 180C and find a suitable pie dish. Ladle the beef and veg mix into the dish. If it has dried out, add more beef stock – it needs to look very sloppy. Carefully cover the dish with potato and fluff up the top so it goes crispy, and cook for 30  minutes. The ultimate comfort food, served with a green vegetable.

Best Chilli (easy)

Found this on the Internet and it is a good one.

  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tbs chopped jalapeno
  • 400g tin chopped tomato
  • 400g tin red kidney beans
  • 400g tin black beans
  • 1 pack passata
  • 125ml water or stock
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of cooking oil

Heat oil in an iron casserole. Chop the onion and green pepper. Heat in the oil to soften. Add the mince and stir around until the pink has gone. Add the spices and jalapeno. Cook for 1 minute more. Lob in everything else and simmer for an hour. Keep checking and if it looks like drying out add more water.

Server with rice or tortillas, plus grated cheese, sour cream, avacado and beer.

Instant pot method:

  1. Press “Saute”. Fry onion, pepper and beef as above.
  2. Chuck the rest in.
  3. Cancel Saute and put on “Chilli” for 30 minutes.

Daddy Burgers

So called because Aedy and Josh loved these from an early age. I like making my own because you can make nice thick juicy burgers and know what is in them. Here’s what you do.

Buy mince to make enough 150g burgers for your needs (i.e. 600g makes 4 large burgers). Preferably buy fatty mince (10-18%) because lean steak mince (5%) will be a bit dry. Put the mince in a bowl with a tablespoon of tomato ketchup per burger, plus salt and pepper. Mush up with your hands and when mixed, form burger shaped burgers. You don’t need anything more special than your hands to do that. Lakeland keep your burger presses! What makes a true Daddy Burger is hidden cheese. Take a chunk of cheese and hide it completely inside each burger – best do that before you flatten it out. Now fry or grill each side until the burger is cooked through. The cheese will melt and ooze out spectacularly when cut.

Serve with all the trimmings – in a burger bun with your choice of tomato relish, iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, mayo, sliced gherkin, grilled bacon, large flat grilled mushroom, more cheese or all of the above. If you do that spear it with a kebab skewer to look cool. Skin on fries, sweet potato fries or wedges are all legitimate accompaniments.

Ultimate Lasagne

After many years of trialling difference recipes, the method I use from memory seems to work reliably so here it is, committed to posterity. This makes four huge portions or six sensible ones.

  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 rashers of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Oxo cube
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 8 basil leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 wineglass of red wine
  • 450ml milk
  • lump of butter or equivalent
  • 30-40g plain flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • another carrot and stick of celery left whole
  • 200g cheddar cheese grated
  • 9 sheets dried lasagne
  • oil, salt, pepper

First chop the onion, celery, carrots and bacon finely. Heat the oil in a large pan and stir-fry until soft but not coloured. Add the mince and garlic, and continue stir frying until all pink has gone from the mince. Add the tinned tomatoes. Crumble the oxo cube into the tin and fill the tin with boiling water. Tip into the pan. Add the basil, red wine and tomato paste. Simmer covered for one hour.

Meanwhile start the white sauce by putting the milk, bay leaf, extra carrot and celery stick into the milk with four whole peppercorns. It helps to chop the carrot and celery very roughly into big chunks. Bring the milk to the boil then switch off and leave until you make the cheese sauce.

After the meat has been simmering 40 minutes, make the sauce. Strain the flavoured milk and discard the vegetable bits. Heat the butter gently in another pad until melted, add the flour and cook away until it bubbles. Add the strained milk and stir like crazy to mix, then heat the sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be a thick creamy consistency. You might need to adjust the amount of flour used with practice. Add three quarters of the cheese and melt it in to make a smooth creamy sauce.

When your meat is ready, assemble the lasagne thus: take a lasagne dish and put a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom. Put three sheets of lasagne over to cover. Repeat three times. Pour the cheese sauce over the top and spread it out. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake at 190C for 30 minutes. Awesome.


Chilli by Hairy Bikers

There are many, many different variations on this. True Texans would not want chilli adulterated with what we regularly put in it but this is a good version for every-day. You can make a big mix of chilli and keep the leftovers to make a tortilla grill or toppings for jacket potatoes. The following is for four hungry people.

  • 2 onions
  • 500g mince beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • splash of oil

Fry these up in a pan until all the pink has gone. Add

  • 1 or 2 tsp chilli powder. Olwyn likes it at level 1. I like it at level 2. You can always add but you can’t take away
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbs plain flour

Fry another minute. Then add

  • 450 ml beef stock (Oxo cube is fine). You could use part red wine and part stock.
  • 3 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Bubble up and simmer 45 minutes, covered. Stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add a bit more water if it looks too dry. Serve with cornbread, rice, and if you need to ramp up the heat, some chopped jalopenos.


Swedish Burgers

You could use any mince for these.

  • 450g mince (beef or pork preferably)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 2-6 tbs grated cooked (not pickled) beetroot
  • 2tbs chopped capers
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tbs chopped chives

Mix. Form into four patties. Fry or grill both sides. You can either serve conventionally in a bap or do the Swedish thing of serving with mashed potato, a green vegetable and lingonberry or redcurrant sauce. Make a gravy by putting a couple of tablespoons of plain flour in your now oily pan, stir around to soak up all the tasty juices, add 250ml stock, heat until thickened and bubble a bit more. I like to use vegetable or chicken stock and stir in a bit of cream at the end. Very wicked. Don’t forget the lingonberry jelly, this makes the dish special. Oh and a lager too.

DIY Taco Seasoning Mix and Taco Mince

This makes enough for 1Kg mince. If you have a smaller quantity of mince just divide the taco mix in proportion and save in a jar for next time. It keeps fine.

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5tsp salt

To make taco mince, dry fry the mince until it is no longer pink;  add the taco mix, fry a few minutes more; add 4 tbs tomato puree per kilo of mince and 250ml water, bubble away for 20 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water if you like it gloopy.

Great on tacos, filled wraps, on potato skins and in jacket potato with a combo of Jalapeno peppers, grated cheese, chopped tomato, chopped avacado, sour cream, salsa, fresh coriander leaves, shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped red onion. What’s not to like.

Italian Meatballs

Ingredients (for one) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 125g beef mince (not too lean)
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (1 tin for 1-2 people, 2 tins for 3-4 etc)
  • Half an onion
  • 125ml beef stock (half a cube in boiling water)
  • a  pinch of mixed herbs
  • Cooking oil
  • Pasta (or rice)
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Step 1: Put the beef mince in a bowl and mix in the seasoning and herbs with your hands. Make little balls about 3cms diameter as if you were playing with Plasticine.

Step 2: Heat a pan to medium heat and put in a little oil to make to base shiny. Put your meatballs in the pan and after they start sizzling, roll them around by jiggling the pan handle. They should roll around and brown evenly but if you were not capable of making ball shaped balls some may get stuck in position. If so help them out by turning with a spoon. Once they are well browned, take them out and put then on a plate nearby to rest. They don’t need to be cooked right through at this point but should look well browned on the outside.

Step 3: Chop the onion finely (5mm cubes) and cook in the pan you have just been using (assuming you have not carbonised it) until soft. The meat usually adds a bit of extra fat to cook in but if you have been using very lean mince you may have to add an extra glug of oil.

Step 4: Add the tomatoes and stock. Add more salt and pepper and another pinch of herbs. Heat until bubbling then turn down and cook away for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add the meatballs and cook for a further 10 minutes. If it is drying out add a splash of water. If you have a lid for the pan put it on to keep it moist. At the same time put your pasta/rice of choice on to boil so everything is ready at the same time.

Plate up the pasta first, then the meatballs and sauce over, and top with grated cheese if you wish

Cheats Note: You can get away with using a good quality chilled/fresh tomato sauce instead of making your own, in which case omit step 3 and 4, and use the ready-made sauce instead for step 5. Follow the pack instructions for further heating but give it at least 10 minutes to finish the meatballs.

Balti Mince

You can cook mince in many difference ways starting from the same point: taco mince, chilli, Bolognese, shepherd’s pie and also this Indian version.
Instructions are vague as this is something you can experiment with. Recipe for one:

  • 125g beef mince (not too lean)
  • Balti Curry Paste in a jar
  • Garlic puree
  • Half a small onion chopped
  • Tomato
  • A small potato, cubed

Other soft vegetable as available: a handful of peas, a quarter of a pepper, or a few mushrooms, or half a courgette or whatever else is lying around
Fry the onion is some oil. Add the garlic, fry briefly then add the mince. Fry and stir until browned. This is how you start many recipes. Now add a tablespoon of Balti curry paste. Having tried it you may decide to use more next time. Now add a tomato, chopped, and stir around in the pan briefly. Now add a cup of water, the potato and the veg. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. It should be gloopy: if too runny leave the lid off and boil some of that juice away, if it dries out add a bit more water. Adjust the seasoning and serve with rice or naan bread. Feel free to experiment. You can make it more tomato-ey with some tomato puree; add some mango chutney; different veg; more curry paste and so on. It is not a purist’s Balti but pretty nice all the same.

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