Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Art of Using Up

Have you looked recently into the depths of your fridge? Is it an empty beast, or does it hide lots of goodies?

Have you been brainwashed into believing the "use by" dates?

Are you stumped with what to do with a spoonful of this, that and the other?

I often have saved a few cooked veg portions I can't throw out until they look too sad too eat! Not to mention the 1/4pt of REAL gravy from the last roast that the diners were too polite to finish off.

Tonight I did a fridge blitz. I unearthed a few things that went out straight away, but I was left with a few mushrooms - sell by date 3 days ago ( still fresh and bouncy ), a few spoonfuls of nice looking cooked veg and a full 1/2pt of gravy - riches indeed!

In my freezer I had that most useful of ingredients, a box of mince, lamb mince to be precise, bought at a knockdown price of £1.48 for 400g.

Whenever I see mince in the reduced section, I buy as much as I think I can use in 3 - 6 months. It will freeze well for that time. There are so many recipes you can use it for ; Spag bol, minced meat pie, lasagne, beefburgers, shepherd's pie or cottage pie , to name but a few.

Tonight it's just plain mince and onion ( + a few extras)

Mince and Onions

400g mince (beef or lamb)
2 large or 4 small peeled, sliced onions
1/2 pt leftover gravy
1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
1 tbls oil
Any leftover cooked veg, about a cupful will do
A few sliced mushrooms (optional)
Salt and pepper (about a tsp of the one and a few grinds of the other!)

In a heavy pan, heat the oil over a low heat. Add the onions and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. Slow is king here, do not hurry this dish. Add the mince and break it up in the pan, mixing it with the onions, stirring occasionally. Add the herbs, salt and pepper, all the veg and the gravy. Bring to the boil and simmer over a very low heat for about 45 mins partially covered with a lid.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy. It goes well with potato wedges or chips, also roast parsnips or rice.

It will have more flavour if you add a slug of red wine with the gravy, but it'll still be nice without. 

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