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Burgers/meatballs

(18 Posts)
MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 10:35:02

I am veggie and useless at cooking meat for my dc. I want to ty to do meatballs or burgers as dc3 likes to eat with her hands. I'm using lean organic minced beef (should i have bought lean?) and then I know i need to add egg and or breadcrumbs. Do I fry the meatballs or poach them in the sauce? And do I fry or grill the burgers and if I fry do I need a lid on the frying pan. I am completely clueless so please be patient with me!
It's got to come out right as I can't bring myself to taste it so I'm not sure how to tell if it's undercooked or tough as leather.

Mamaz0n Mon 13-Jun-11 10:38:57

well done you for attempting to cook them at all.

this is a good simple meatball recpe Here

I would grill shop bought burgers by fry home made in a little oil.

Fry the meatballs just to seal them, then poach in the sauce.

PatientGriselda Mon 13-Jun-11 10:44:19

For burgers I find lean meat not very good. I think Delia says you need a certain percentage of fat (20%?). It might matter less with meatballs because of the subsequent simmering in the sauce.

lilolilmanchester Mon 13-Jun-11 11:14:57

I don't use egg or breadcrumbs in burgers - just mince and finely chopped onions, shape and leave in the fridge for a while to firm up. I do use egg and breadcrumbs in meatballs, again, shape and leave to firm up, brown in a hot pan then cook in the tomato sauce.

MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:15:01

Delia is a good idea.Being veggie I never use her(I'm a Rose Elliot girl) but this may be her moment.
I think I'll try the meatballs first.

lilolilmanchester Mon 13-Jun-11 11:15:41

(btw meatloaf is another easy mince meal)

MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:15:49

How long do I simmer them for?

MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:17:25

Meatloaf is a good idea but comes out family sized and only 3 small children will eat it (dh is a peskie).

Xiaoxiong Mon 13-Jun-11 11:29:44

If I can be bothered, I add any or all of the following to my meatballs: onions, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, oregano, chili flakes, egg, bread soaked in milk... I brown them about 5 minutes in a frying pan, then simmer in the tomato sauce about 30 minutes. They are perfectly nice with just mince, chopped onions and garlic though. I also usually combine equal amounts of pork, beef and veal mince and make a huge batch and freeze.

For burgers, if I have accidentally bought lean mince I'll either put a teaspoon of goose or duck fat (1 tsp per 500g mince) or I'll mould a pat of butter into the middle of the burger. Or replace the butter with blue cheese. When I mould them I make them into discs with a dent in the middle on each side. Because we like our burgers with bacon, we fry bacon first, then fry the burgers in the bacon fat for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how well done we want them. Best way to tell if they're done is to cut them in half (no prob if you're also going to cut the burger in half), or prod them - if they feel relatively firm and not raw any more you'll know they're done.

(Before you worry about the state of our arteries, we very very rarely have burgers because I figure it's not worth trying to make them healthy - would rather have one dripping juicy tasty burger a year than a dry and boring burger every week!)

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 13-Jun-11 11:32:48

I don't use egg in meatballs either. My recipe is as follows....

8oz lean minced beef
8oz lean minced pork
couple tablespoons finely chopped or minced onion
crushed garlic
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 heaped tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
seasoning and some herbs

Combine all the above, mixing well and 'squishing' with your hands ... the mixing process makes the protein in the meat come to the surface, making it stickier, so less likely to fall apart. Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls the size of a walnut

For the sauce
400g finely chopped canned tomatoes or passata
seasoning & herbs
pinch of sugar

-Heat the above in a wide, shallow pan and cook gently for about 20 minutes until quite reduced
- pop the uncooked meatballs on top and then cover with a lid
- after 10 minutes simmering, gently stir the meatballs into the sauce. They won't fall apart after this length of time
- Cook for a further 10 - 15 minutes, stirring gently occasionally.

lilolilmanchester Mon 13-Jun-11 11:47:36

MooMoo, all these things freeze well so worth making double anyway. Burgers & meatballs I would freeze before cooking, defrost and then cook as normal. Meatloaf I slice when cold, freeze, and then heat through in tomato sauce after defrosting.

Butterbur Mon 13-Jun-11 11:48:06

I don't use anything in burgers or meatballs, except mince. I have a press for burgers like this that makes them much easier than using hands, and they stay together pretty well.

Everyone says how nice they are (am also a veggie)

MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 13:18:16

tyelperion how much bread soaked in milk do you put in?

Do I freeze before or after I seal them in the frying pan?

fergoose Mon 13-Jun-11 14:16:50

I don't fry meatballs as mine seem to crumble, I bake them in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, any fat can be drained away then.

If the meat hasn't been frozen previously freeze them raw - if it has previously frozen freeze them after cooking.

MooM00 Mon 13-Jun-11 14:19:21

So fergooze if the meat has been frozen before and I freeze them after cooking in the oven, how do i reheat? I'm worried about the fine line between tough as leather and food poisoning!!

Xiaoxiong Mon 13-Jun-11 16:17:11

I often rip up old baguette to put in, probably about 3 inches worth of baguette for 500g meat. Works out to about a large-ish handful of torn bread. Then I soak in a little milk until soggy but not dissolving. Squeeze out excess milk and throw into the meat.

I would make raw meatballs, then freeze raw - defrost before sealing in the pan. Alternatively, you can cook meatballs straight from raw and freeze them together with their sauce, then just warm through in the microwave.

fergoose Mon 13-Jun-11 16:38:32

Defrost in the fridge and reheat in the sauce. That should stop them drying out.

MooM00 Tue 14-Jun-11 10:11:40

Thanks everyone , I'll get a big batch into the freezer and then get back to cooking my chickpeas. It's amazing how quick and easy cooking meat is, nothing like the amount of chopping that's needed for most veggie dishes.

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