Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Mucking up mince

On Sunday we had slow roasted topside of beef.  It was a large joint, and low-temp- roasted topside is one of  favourites.  Delicious tender beef, tastes amazing hot or cold, and not an expensive roasting cut.

My low-and-slow book told me to sear it for 10 mins first (which I did, perfectly), then to slow roast it at 80 degreees (non fan) for 2.5 to 3 hours for a medium rare finish.  The roasting tray was put in the oven while it heated up.

We've done this many times now, and we know that it always takes longer than the book says.  I allowed 3.5 hours.  It had 3.75 hours, and still wasn't quite done (it wasn't medium rare) in the middle. I know, because I use a proper probe thing..

This isn itself wasn't a problem. We just had the beef off the ends - which were cooked -  for our meal,  and this left us with some lovely beef for "second hand meat" (as the son of a colleague once called it). 

Usually we slice some leftover beef for the freezer, for future quick-roasts or cow-in-the-hole.   I thought that this time I'd make an enormous pot of mince, which could then be used as filling for either cottage pie or or teviot pie (suet crust pastry), or whatever.

We bought a dedicated mincer recently. Our Kitchen Aid mincer worked OK, but this one is much faster, and does a better job.      We minced the whole of the remaining joint using a coarse blade, and had an enormous bowlful. It was rather more than I had been expecting.

I got out a big saucepan, and started to prepare it.    I fried some chopped carrot, onion, celery and garlic.  I added the meat. It didn't really need browning.

 I added a little stock.  The stock disappeared. It got sucked into the mince!

I added more.

It disappeared.

I added a little more, this time it wasn't absorbed.  I added the herbs and other bits.  I left it to simmer.

About 15 minutes later,  my lovely coarse mince had reduced to half its' volume, and looked like it had been very finely ground. It was like gravy with tiny bits in!

Not only that, but all the stock had now come back out of the mince, and was sitting on the top.

I stirred.  I simmered rapidly to evaporate off some of the liquid.

I got out my pie tin, and some freezer tubs.  I used a slotted spoon to spoon the "mince" out of the liquid into the receptacles, topping the freezer tubs up with some of the gravy.  I made my pie.

Pie tasted  fine - although the texture of the mince wasn't at all what I wanted.

The leftover gravy was also decanted into feezer tubs and frozen.  We always need gravy for -in-the-hole dishes, so leftover good gravy is always frozen.

I've no idea what went wrong with the mince.   Maybe I shouldn't have added the stock when I did?
Having seen all the stock come bback out o fthe mice,  I now know I cerrtainly shouldn't have added so much!

I do wish I'd only used half of it for mince.  Lesson learned.

I'd tested the oven before and it had been accurate - although I realise now I had only tested it on the fan setting.      I've now tested it on the non fan setting and found that it's 5 to 10 degrees out.  I tested the probe, and that was accurate.   I've tested the other oven as well, and that was also out by about 10 degrees. 

Again, I'll know for next time.

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