Thursday, 7 June 2012

Thursday - and savoury mince

Here we are, more than half way through half term.  At the moment it's not raining but the forecast is dire and I doubt my friends will be able to do what they planned which is a visit to Hyde Hall.  You need dry weather for that really.  Sun can be optional, dry really isn't!

We managed to get into town yesterday afternoon in between showers, and now DG has most of his new school uniform.  Big changes and he looked so smart and adult!!!

The lasagne went down a real treat and I thought I'd post what passes for my recipe for the savoury mince that forms the basis of it.
You need some flavoursome mince (I used mixed beef and pork but you can use any kind really).  Also some chopped onion and chopped any or all of the following (depending on what you have in the house):  carrot, peppers, mushrooms (I use chestnut which don't go slimy and sloppy), sweet potato, celery, sweet corn, peas - oh, just about anything in the vegetable line really.  If you like it, in it can go.  Then I also use red lentils and oats which give flavour and texture/thickening.  The liquids are canned chopped tomatoes and/or passata, wine (red or white) and stock to match the meat and water.  Oh, and tomato puree.  Flavourings can be what you fancy but I usually use garlic puree, chilli puree, some soy sauce and some lea and perrins.  Herbs are bay, thyme and whatever else you fancy.
It sounds complicated but it isn't, it's just whatever is available and is certainly NOT in any way authentic Italian.  Authentic Clark, more like, but very tasty all the same..

Soften the veg that needs it in some oil.  Remove from the pan (I use my nice hob to oven pan) and fry the mince until browned all over, adding the garlic and chili and whatever else. 
Then add the softened veg and stir well.
Add the liquids, the remaining veg, the lentils and oats, any other seasonings and some salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Bring up to a simmer and then either simmer on the hob for ages or ditto in the oven, checking and stirring now and again.  Towards the end, add the tomato puree, adjust seasonings and add more water/stock, if the mixture is thick.  I prefer a more sloppy mixture for lasagne as the pasta soaks some liquid up and it can get quite dry otherwise.  Then use for whatever, it is very flexible.  I've used it for savoury crumble, cottage pie, pot pie, on pasta, on its own with mash and more veg, lasagne, of course, in a sort of hot 'pasty', etc.  It freezes well.

Actually, there are so many variables it's not so much a recipe, more a state of mind .

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