Mincemeat is great stuff, dear friends – it’s unbelievable all the things you can do with it! You can, of course, create lovely oven dishes with it; I’ve already told you about some of those, like lasagne and moussaka, in a previous post:
You can also do simpler, quicker things with it, though, if you haven’t got too much time or appetite for cooking. Some of the recipes I’ve put together here are actually VERY quick and easy; further down you’ll find some more intricate ones from all over the world. Enjoy cooking and eating! Ingredients are for 4.
Steak tartare and salad
500g mincemeat, 4 egg yolks, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, 1 dash Worcestershire sauce, ½ lettuce, 2 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, mayonnaise or salad cream
This recipe doesn’t involve any cooking! Because it’s made with raw mincemeat… I know, many people object to eating raw meat, but you should give it a go, dear friends; it’s enormously healthy, too. I’ve already told you about tartare in one of my sandwich posts; it’s extremely easy to do:
Mix the mincemeat, the egg yolks, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley and Worcestershire sauce (if you haven’t got any you can use vinegar instead) in a bowl with a fork and spoon until it’s a nice, smooth mixture. Cut the lettuce and the tomatoes, slice the cucumber.
Arrange a quarter each of the mincemeat mix on four plates and decorate them nicely with the salad topped with mayonnaise or salad cream. P.S.: The posh way of serving a steak tartare is to not add the egg yolk beforehand, but to put it on top of the mincemeat mixture on the plate instead…
Cheeseburgers and chips
400g mincemeat, 4 hamburger buns, 400g frozen chips, 1 onion, 200g breadcrumbs, 2 eggs, 4 slices cheese, 50g grated cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, oil, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard
This one’s a cinch, as every fan of Sponge Bob Square Pants knows! Both kids and grown-ups love it, and it’s done without any problems in a quarter of an hour – just as long as the chips take in the oven.
Bake your chips in the oven according to the instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, grate the onion and mix it with your hands in a bowl with the mincemeat, the breadcrumbs, the eggs, the grated cheese, salt and pepper and parsley.
Form patties from the mixture about 7-8cm in diameter, and fry them in a big pan with oil for 5-6 minutes; turn them around a couple of times to see whether they’ve turned a nice brown colour.
Spread the sliced hamburger buns with some mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard, put the cheese slices on them and top with the hot patties. You can also add some gherkins or a slice of tomato and/or a leaf of lettuce! Serve with the chips and ketchup.
Coney Island Dog
400g mincemeat, 4 big sandwich buns, 4 frankfurter sausages, 400g grated cheese (the sort that melts easily, like cheddar, gouda or mozzarella), salt, pepper, chili powder, 2-3tsp ketchup, oil
This has been my favourite hot dog ever since I discovered it in my first American cookery book as a teenager – it’s just so delicious! And it’s not difficult to do, either:
Fry the mincemeat in oil, season with salt, pepper, chili powder and ketchup; meanwhile, cook the sausages in water for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Cut open the sandwich buns, put the sausages in, top with the mincemeat and then the cheese. Just grill in the oven for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is starting to melt – ready! Serve with chips and some more ketchup and a salad.
Note: you should always be ready to improvise, dear friends, especially in these strange days – so, if like me the other day, you’re not able to get any sandwich buns, you can also do it with burger buns!
Meatballs with raisins
500g mincemeat, 300g breadcrumbs, 1 onion, 100g grated cheese, 2 eggs, 200g raisins, 1tsp lemon juice, 3-4tsp olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, mint, flour
I’ve done a lot of meatballs in my time in Greece (where they’re called ‘keftedakia’), but I got this special tip from a TV programme by the wonderful Hairy Bikers: meatballs with raisins! So, let’s add this exotic feature to an ordinary mincemeat recipe:
Put all the ingredients (the onion chopped finely, of course, or even better grated) except the flour in a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands until the mixture is smooth. Form balls about 3cm in size, roll them in flour on a plate, and then fry them in a pan with a LOT of olive oil (they should be at least halfway covered in oil). You can re-use the oil next time by filling it into a bottle with the help of a funnel! And you can also use a deep fryer instead of the pan if you’ve got one.
When they’re golden brown, take them out and put them on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the surplus oil. You can serve them hot with chips, rice or whichever side dish you prefer, or cold as a snack. And another tip: in order to add even more of an exotic flavour, when I first tried this meatball recipe I did it with a gravy with mixed peppers, mango and pineapple!
250g cannelloni, 250g mincemeat, 500g baby spinach, 250ml passata, 1 tomato, 2 eggs, 50g breadcrumbs, 250g grated cheese, 2-3 cloves garlic (or garlic powder), salt, pepper, oregano, oil
I’ve already told you about the two most popular Italian pasta dishes with mincemeat, lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise; but there’s another very famous one that’s not difficult to do, either – all you need are canelloni rolls which you’ll find in the pasta section in your supermarket!
Fry the mincemeat with the spinach and the grated garlic cloves, season with salt, pepper and oregano, then add the eggs, the passata and the breadcrumbs and simmer for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Fill the cannelloni rolls with the mixture and put them in a large oiled baking tin, pour some oil over them and top with the cheese; bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Chili con carne
500g mincemeat, 50g butter, ½ beef stock cube, 3 tomatoes, 250ml passata, 1 onion, 2-3 cloves garlic (or garlic powder), 1 red bell pepper, 2 tins kidney beans, chili powder, salt
This famous Mexican recipe can be done with mincemeat just as well as with cubed meat; and it’s a lot quicker, too! Chop the onion and the bell pepper and fry them with the mincemeat in butter; chop the tomatoes and add them with the passata, the grated garlic, 150ml water, the stock cube, salt and chili powder. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the beans and heat up again, simmer for a couple of minutes, and serve piping hot with some fresh white bread!
500g mincemeat, 4 eggs, 3 tomatoes, 250ml passata, 1 onion, 2-3 cloves garlic (or garlic powder), 220g corn flour, 2tbsp flour, 250g grated cheese, 500ml milk, 30g butter, 250ml passata, 3tbsp ketchup, 1tsp sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, parsley, oil
Another lovely recipe from Mexico, incredibly tasty and very nutritious! If you’re in a real hurry, you can get a ready enchilada kit from the supermarket; but it’s not really that difficult to do the tortillas and the sauce yourself!
In a bowl, mix the corn flour, 3 eggs, 300ml milk and a dash of salt. If the batter isn’t liquid enough, add some more milk. One by one, make four thin pancakes (tortillas) with the batter in a big pan and put them aside.
Chop the onion and the garlic and fry with the mincemeat in oil; chop the tomatoes and add them with the passata, the other egg, 50g cheese and the spices and the sugar. Simmer for 7-8 minutes.
In a medium pot, heat up the butter, add the flour and then 200ml milk while whisking; season with salt, pepper and chili powder, add an egg and 50g cheese and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C.
Distribute the mincemeat mixture on the tortillas and roll them up; put them in an oiled baking tin (or one laid out with baking foil) and top with the milk sauce and the ketchup, and finally the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
500g mincemeat, 1 egg, 2 onions, 3 tomatoes, 250ml passata, 100ml white wine, 100g breadcrumbs, 50g flour, 3 cloves garlic (or garlic powder), salt, pepper, parsley, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, sugar, olive oil
A famous recipe from Asia Minor, Turkish in origin (sucuk in Turkish is sausage), soutzoukakia are very popular in Greece and an expensive treat for tourists; you can do them at home, though, any time, it’s not that difficult! The original recipe is to put the sausages topped with the sauce in the oven and bake for 30 minutes; but I find that just finishing off the meal in the pan is easier, quicker and just as tasty.
For the sausages, put the mincemeat, the breadcrumbs, the egg, one finely chopped onion, the chopped garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and 100ml water in a bowl and mix well with your hands – it’s fun, you’ll see! Make sausages from the mixture about 8-9cm long and 2cm thick. Roll then in flour and then fry them in a pan with oil. Take them out when they’re a nice light brown and put them on a plate.
For the sauce, chop the tomatoes and the other onion, fry them in the same pan for 5 minutes, then add the passata, the wine, salt and a little sugar, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Simmer for 15-20 minutes; you might want to add a little water now and then, and don’t forget to keep stirring!
Put the sausages back into the pan with the sauce, heat up once more, and serve with rice or cooked or fried potatoes.
500 mincemeat (mixed, pork and beef), 1 egg, 3-4 cloves garlic (grated), 1tbsp flour, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, 1tbsp olive oil
Cevapcici are a grilled variant of kebab; they’re the national dish of most part of former Yugoslavia. They’re ideally done on a grill, but if you haven’t got one you can do them either in the oven or in a pan, whichever you prefer.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands; when the mixture is smooth, put the bowl in the fridge and let it rest for 1 hour. Then, form sausages about 7-8cm long and 2-3cm thick. Put them either in a frying pan with oil and fry for 8-10 minutes, or grill them in your oven at 220°C for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with rice and fried and slices tomatoes, onions and bell peppers!
Lebanese mincemeat stuffed pitas
500g mincemeat (lamb), 4 pita breads, 1 aubergine, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 100g sliced beetroot, ½ lettuce, 100g yoghurt, ½ chicken stock cube, 100ml passata, 100g raisins, 100g pine nuts, olive oil
This special sort of filled pita is called arayes in Lebanon; you can do it with Greek pita breads just as well, which you’re probably more likely to find at the supermarket.
Chop the onions and fry them in oil with the mincemeat; chop the aubergine and add it, then add 150ml water and the stock cube, the raisins and the passata; simmer for 10 minutes, then add the pine nuts and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the lettuce and grate the carrot, and heat up the pita breads in a Teflon pan one by one (no oil needed for that).
Put the mixture on the pita breads, roll them up and top with the beetroot slices, the carrot and lettuce and the yoghurt.
Enjoy your mincemeat experiments, dear friends, and let me know about your own mincemeat specialities!