In order to justify playing with my new toy, the Multi-Food Grinder attachment for my Kenwood Chef, I had to cook a meal using mince. I thought the best way to judge the quality of the mince would be to cook traditional mince stew & dumplings, as the mince and its flavour would be the star of the show.
As I’d bought braising steak and cut most of the excess fat off it would also mean that the meal would be lower in fat than if I’d used shop bought mince. If you don’t have a mincer but still want to have a lower fat dish you could buy lean steak mince, or get your butcher to mince some lean steak for you. If you want to be really healthy though you will need to leave out the dumplings…
This dish turned out better than I expected, it had the best flavour and texture of any mince dinner I’ve ever made. I think a large part of that is due to the fact I minced my own beef. I would highly recommend doing this to everyone, you can pick up manual mincers quite cheaply, but a lot of stand mixers have mincer attachments available.
This was a big batch, which would easily feed 6 people (with extra dumplings). I froze the excess mince and veg in portions.
Lean minced beef – 1½ lb/700g
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Red onion – 1 large (finely chopped)
Garlic – 3 cloves (minced)
Red wine – 4fl oz/125ml
Tomato puree – 1 tablespoon
Gravy granules – 1 tablespoon
Mushrooms – 10oz/300g (sliced)
Beef Stock – 1 pint/500ml
Carrots – 4-5 sliced
Seasoning – dried herbs (thyme and oregano work well), salt and pepper
Suet – 50g
Self raising flour – 100g
Dried thyme – 2 teapoons
Salt and pepper
Water – 5 tablespoons (2.5fl oz/75ml)
- Add the olive oil to the casserole on a medium-hot hob, fry until they soften and start to colour.
- Add the garlic and fry for another minute before adding the mince to brown, making sure you break it up with the wooden spoon and stirring so it browns evenly and doesn’t clump together.
- When all the meat is coloured add the wine and simmer for a few minutes.
- When the alcohol has cooked off (when it’s stopped smelling of booze) stir in the tomato puree, gravy granules and seasoning.
- Mix in the the mushrooms and cook for another minute before adding the hot beef stock.
- Add the carrots, cover with the lid, and put in a preheated oven (160°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3) for an hour.
- Meanwhile, make the dumplings by putting all the dry ingredients into the bowl, adding most of the water and combine to form a firm dough (adding more water if necessary). Divide and form into balls (I got 4).
- When the first hour is up turn the oven up to 180°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 4. Remove the casserole from the oven, pop in the dumplings, recover and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
- After this time check that the dumplings has puffed up and look cooked.
- For crispy dumplings return the casserole to the oven with the lid off for 15-20 minutes until brown and crispy.
- Best served with mashed potato.