Mince – Comfort food
Classic Mince or Sauteed Hamburger
This homey dish is a favorite in my household. Ground beef in the U.S. is called hamburger, in other parts of the world it is known as mince.Don’t confuse this dish with a spaghetti sauce or ragu; it is dry not saucy. You should be able to cut a dry path down the middle of your skillet with a spoon.
Mince is one of the most pleasing of comfort foods. During cold, wet weather I make it at least every other week. Make it ahead and it tastes even better a day or two later. Leftovers make an excellent Cottage Pie (Shepard’s pie is made with lamb) with the addition of a mashed potato crust.
This recipe comes from the British writer Simon Hopkinson. It’s in his book “Second Helpings of Roast Chicken”. He writes that his mince is related to the traditional Scottish savory mince. I typically serve it with mashed potatoes and a salad. I’ve changed his recipe only slightly. This is not fancy fare but “home” cooking at it’s best.
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped medium fine
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped medium fine
- ½ lb. of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 lb. of ground beef
- 4 slices of thick cut bacon, cubed
- 2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (I use Herbs de Provence)
- 1 small 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (or 4 chopped fresh tomatoes)
- ¾ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. of tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon of umami paste or anchovy paste (optional)
- Salt (kosher) and freshly ground pepper
- Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed skillet on medium high heat.
- Brown the onion in the butter until well colored
- Add the carrots and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables to a bowl and reserve
- Wipe out the skillet and add the oil.
- Heat for a minute on medium high heat; add the ground beef and chopped bacon to the skillet. Sauté until golden brown.
- Add the mixed herbs and tomato paste, lover the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes (and their juices), reserved vegetables, water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and umami paste (if using) to the skillet.
- Turn the heat down as low as possible and cook, uncovered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Onions, carrots and mushrooms
Ground beef and bacon
The final product should be rich and thick.
Serve with mashed potatoes or soft polenta.
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Hamburgers with Beer Candied Bacon
Hamburger with beer candied bacon, avocado and cheese
When I am feeling under the weather I crave simple food, just the basics please. I’ve been fighting a cold since the day after Christmas; but being who I am, I’ve been barreling through full speed ahead. I love the holiday season and refuse to let a cold get in my way. It’s winter right? Doesn’t everyone have a cold? It’s normal.
Last night was the end of barreling through. I needed something comforting and simple. It was time for a hamburger. Now I don’t mean any hamburger, certainly not MacDonald’s. A homemade one was what I needed. Something with grass fed chopped chuck, mixed with something lean (buffalo, elk, ground turkey?). I had a package of elk in the freezer complements of an amazing grocery store on the Northern Coast. Mixed together they would be the perfect blend of lean and juicy, complex and plain old beef. Even more interesting I had beer-candied bacon left over from New Year’s Day. Boy do I love leftovers!
Let’s start with the bacon; this is an amazing thing to have on hand. The recipe is by Laura on the blog Tide and Thyme. Here is the link to the post on her blog.
I’ve reprinted the recipe below.
Beer Candied Bacon
- 1 lb. of thick cut high quality bacon
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ¼ plus 2 tablespoons of dark beer
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (she recommends 400 but I found that to be too hot). Ovens vary.
- Combine brown sugar and beer in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. (I heated the mix for 30 seconds in the microwave since my house was chilly. It helped dissolve the sugar.)
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place one or two wire cooling racks on top. Place the bacon on the rack, overlapping if necessary (it will shrink in cooking). Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes remove from the oven and brush with the beer/sugar syrup. Turn the bacon over and brush the other side. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Repeat the process one or two more times until the bacon is brown and crisp.
- Cool on the wire rack for an hour or more until serving.
Hamburger with beer candied bacon, avocado, cheese and red onion
- 2 lbs. of ground beef, not too lean. (Combination of beef and dark meat turkey is also good)
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, few grindings of pepper
- Salt and pepper the meat, mixing it carefully.
- With clean, wet hands form the hamburger into 6 patties, being careful to handle it very gently. Shape with a slight indentation in the middle, as they will shrink in cooking. I usually make mine slightly larger in diameter than the bun.
- Heat a skillet on medium high for a minute.
- Add as many patties to the skillet as can fit without crowding. You may need to turn on the fan to your stove so your smoke alarm doesn’t go off.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on a side, depending on how rare you like your hamburger.
- If making cheeseburgers, add your cheese to the cooked side when they are flipped. That will give it time to melt a bit.
- Meanwhile, toast the buns till they are slightly brown and crispy on the outside.
- Assemble the hamburgers to your liking.
Our family favorites are cheese, avocado, sliced red onion, Dijon mustard, and mayo. What are your favorite garnishes?
I think that the party at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen will like this one. Come and join us.
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