Basic mince mixture
Make the most of mince
Homemade convenience food at its best – a tasty, yet simple mince mixture. Everyone knows a bolognaise mixture on pasta, but have you tried mince on a baked potato or roasted sweet potato? This recipe is so easy to prepare and you can be quite creative with all the different ways to turn the mince into a new meal every time.
I love the rich tomato flavour of this recipe. The tomato paste and red wine (or use strong Rooibos tea) gives the meat a lovely rich colour and flavour. Grated carrots add a vibrant colour, slightly sweet flavour and extra volume. The fresh herbs are essential for this dish. Use any combination of your choice and mix it up a little according to the other flavours in the meal.
Prepare a lasagne (see tips below) or cottage pie with the mince or try one of the following ideas. Replace some of the liquid with apple juice and add spices like cumin, ginger and soy sauce for an Eastern flavour and serve on basmati rice or noodles. Or turn it into a Chilli con carne by seasoning it with paprika, coriander and a touch of curry powder. Red kidney beans and lots of chopped fresh coriander make it oh so Mexican. Enjoy with tortillas, grated cheese and salsas. An aromatic curried mince is also easy to prepare, by adding your favourite curry spices and chopped coriander.
This Greek mince and brinjal bake (see the image below) is a huge favourite. Season the mince mixture with chopped fresh origanum and mint, then layer with some baby tomatoes between slices of brinjal pan-fried in a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Top with grated pecorino or mature white cheddar and bake at 180 °C for 30 minutes.
Make double the mince recipe and freeze an extra batch to use in one of the suggested ways. Be sure to add this to your repertoire – it’s the kind of recipe everyone should have on their go-to-recipes-list.
This recipe is from my cookbook Make five/Maak vyf. I also shared it in The Muse Magazine, a community magazine in Pinelands, Cape Town, which I regularly contribute recipes to.
Recipe from Make five/Maak vyf
Serves 4 – 6
500 g lean beef mince
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 bay leaf
10 ml (2 tsp) ground coriander
1 x 50 g packet tomato paste
1 x 410 g tin chopped tomatoes
125 ml (½ cup) red wine or strong Rooibos tea
80 ml (⅓ cup) chopped fresh herbs of your choice, such as Italian parsley, origanum, thyme and sage
lemon juice, salt and pepper
1. Heat a thin layer of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry mince until golden brown. Spoon out and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in carrots, bay leaf and coriander and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes to thicken slightly.
3. Return the browned mince with the chopped tomatoes and rinse out the empty tin with the wine or tea. Stir in liquid and herbs and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes or until cooked. Simmer without the lid for a few minutes to cook away any excess moisture. Season to taste.
5. Serve on pasta, mashed potatoes, polenta or rice with a dash of olive oil, grated pecorino cheese and a big salad.
1. Add more veggies, if preferred. Grated baby marrows or butternut are tasty options.
2. Meat balls: Use the same ingredients, but substitute the bay leaf, tinned tomatoes and wine with 60 ml (¼ cup) uncooked oats. Grate the onion and stir into the mince with the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste and roll into balls or hamburger patties. Fry in a thin layer of oil.
3. Prepare a lasagne with the mince: Make a white sauce and layer the mince and white sauce between lasagne sheets. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 180 °C for 30-40 minutes.
Images: Neville Lockhart