Saturday, 22 June 2013

Recipe: Use Up All The Leftovers And Scrag Ends savoury mince: Cheaper than Chips

I had two onions that had decided they wanted to fulfil their prime directive and grow, a manky old parsnip and an equally manky old carrot, three quarters of a can of value chopped tomatoes that really and some free tomatoes that had gone squidgy.  Oh, the shame!

So this is what I did.

First of all I blitzed the tomatoes in Thermione for quite a long time, then pushed the resulting goo through a fine sieve and discarded what remained in the sieve.  Normally I would use two cans chopped tomatoes.

I peeled and chopped (and discarded bits of) the sprouting onions.  I peeled and fairly finely chopped the parsnip and the carrot.

I measured 30mls vegetable oil into my pressure cooker, added the vegetables and gentry fried them until they were nice and soft.

Then I added a good squidge of garlic purée and a good squidge of chilli purée and stirred it well in.

In went 500g mince (the mince that cost me just £1.00), up went the heat a little bit, and I broke it up and stirred it until it had all gone brown.

Then I added the tomato juice from the manky tomatoes, the 3/4 can of chopped tomatoes, some vegetable stock paste, plenty of pepper, some sugar (for the tomatoes), 30g oats and 60g red lentils.

After a good stir I put on the pressure lid, brought it up to pressure and cooked it for around 15 minutes, maybe 20 minutes.   Then I reduced the pressure, took off the lid and - eeek - it had stuck to the bottom.  However, this has happened before in the oven so I just left it to stand and the stuck bits sort of got reabsorbed.

Finally I added a can of value baked beans and about half a tube of tomato puree, stirred it well, tasted, added a bit more salt and bobs your uncle, a good basic savoury mince.  When I go shopping I'm going to  get a value tin of peas and ditto of corn and add some of those too as it needs some colour.  Then I will portion it out and freeze.

For a con carne I will fry some chilli powder in oil before adding it and some kidney beans to the basic mixture, or add chilli puree and beans, serving it with maybe a wrap and some yoghurt.
To make it more Italian-y I will add oregano, thyme, etc and maybe some balsamic vinegar.
For a curry flavour I will do the same as for the con carne, using a curry mix of some kind.
And so on!!
I'm going to base my week's main meals around this and see how it all pans out.

 At the moment I'm guessing eight large portions which makes it around 35p a portion.  It's high in veg (carrot, parsnip, onion, tomato, peas, sweet corn), there's plenty of protein from the mince, the lentils and the beans and it tastes pretty great on its own.  I think that's pretty good for a main meal although it would be more if I hadn't been so lucky as to have had that mince so cheaply.  I could have used pulses instead though, that would have been delicious and great value too, especially if home cooked.

Of course, you could add any veg.  I wanted to use up stuff but mushrooms, peppers, celery - oh, all sorts of things would be good to use.  The possibilities are endless.

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