Sunday, 15 November 2009
When I was a child, I hated minced beef. I think it was because my mother used to buy the cheapest mince she could find and there was always lots of bits of bone and gristle in it . . .
and the bone and gristle always found it's way to my plate . . . and into my mouth. I couldn't stand the feeling of it or the texture . . . it made me gag, to be perfectly blunt. I would be forced to sit there for what seemed like hours, long after the rest of my family had finished and left . . . with a plate of congealing mince in front of me . . . not allowed to leave the table until I had eaten my dinner . . .
As a result . . . I became an expert at routing out every piece of it . . . and hiding it, if I possibly could.
At first I tried hiding it under my plate. That only worked once . . . for obvious reasons. As soon as my mother lifted my plate to take it away . . . there was the minced beef sitting there . . . sigh . . . a better way had to be found.
Next I tried hiding it under the edge of the carpet. That worked several times . . . until my mother hoovered the room and found it all lurking there. Foiled again . . .
Finally, I discovered the perfect spot. Down the heating duct in the corner of the dining room. That worked for a long time. I don't think my mother discovered that hiding place until she went to do a heavy spring clean or summat like that.
At that point . . . my mother gave up trying to feed it to me, and it was a very long, long time before I tried to eat it as an adult. I have since come to quite like it. I always only buy the extra lean mince and so far (fingers crossed) I have been lucky enough that I've never come across any gristle or bone in it. Whew!
Our local butcher only stocks free range hereford beef, and it's very, very good. This is one of my favourite ways to cook it, amongst many. Todd really likes these with a nice big pile of mash, but sometimes he gets chips. He doesn't mind, as long as it's potato in one way, shape or form. He is truly a meat and potatoes kind of a guy.
*Meatballs and Gravy*
My Todd is a real meat and potatoes man. He loves these tasty meatballs that I make, similar to Swedish ones, but not, if you know what I mean.
For the meatballs:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 slice white bread, soaked in a bit of milk and then squeezed dry
1 small onion, peeled and grated
2 tsp dried parsley
1 medium egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
a bit of oil for frying
For the Gravy:
the freshly grated zest of half a lemon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 TBS drippings
2 TBS flour
8 ounces beef stock
8 ounces milk
1 TBS creamed horseradish
Combine all the meatball ingredients and mix together well. Shape into walnut sized balls, wetting hands as needed. Heat some oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them all over. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm until they are all done. Reserve 2 TBS of the pan drippings, disposing of the rest. Heat the pan drippings in the same pan, Whisk in the flour for the gravy. Cook and stir one minute, then slowly stir in the stock, milk, lemon zest, thyme and creamed horseradish. Cook and stir until the gravy is smooth and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt and or pepper if needed.
pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Place the meatballs into a shallow casserole dish. Pour the gravy over top. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling and browned. Serve hot and spooned over mashed potatoes, buttered noodles or steamed white rice. Delicious!