Readers' Recipe Swap: Mince | Eve O'Sullivan

 ,  |  Updated: October 27, 2014 16:07 IST

Readers' Recipe Swap: Mince | Eve O'Sullivan

Mince is a versatile ingredient at its best in patties, pitta and noodles.

Mince has never been a regular in my shopping basket. Yes, I love a good homemade lasagne or lamb keema as much as the next omnivore, but minced meat is not exactly my go-to.

Circumstances might have changed, however, after a flurry of fantastic suggestions. Foodforaking's pork, ginger and miso noodles was the ideal quick dinner, as was Marmaduke Scarlet's moreish arayes - who needs a burger when you can have a spiced lamb pitta? My pick though, truly flies the flag of versatility, as any good mince dish should. Miz Pepperpot's Jamaican patties can be adapted for any meat or veg substitute, and work as well in a lunchbox as they do on the dinner table. Once you've tried it, you'll be using the pastry recipe in other guises, too.

The winning recipe: Jamaican patties

Patties must be one of Jamaica's favourite street foods: spicy, savoury fillings encased in crispy, light pastry. Traditionally, patties are made using beef, lamb, fish or chicken; however, I've played around with the fillings and come up with some equally delicious recipes. Both turkey and pork work well in these patties: the apple adds a subtle sweetness and helps to keep the meat moist.
MizPepperpot, via GuardianWitness

Makes 12 patties
400g minced pork or turkey (or mix of both)
3 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 tsp Caribbean curry powder
Leaves from a small sprig of fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
2 large bramley apples, peeled, cored, diced

For the pastry
250g butter
450g plain flour
½ tsp turmeric
3 eggs

1 In a nonstick pan, gently fry the mince, spring onion, garlic and ginger until the meat is browned. Add the chilli. Stir in the curry powder and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Add a large glug of water (approx. 100ml), and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pan, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2 Add the apple and cook for a 5 minutes until the apple is just tender. Set aside to cool.

3 Blitz the butter, flour, turmeric and a pinch of salt to a course crumb. Mix in 2 of the eggs, and a little cold water if needed, until the dough comes together. Wrap and chill whilst the filling cools.

4 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Thinly roll out the pastry and use an 18cm saucer to cut out 12 circles - re-roll the pastry as necessary. Spoon filling on half of each disc. Brush the edge with egg or milk and fold the pastry over the filling, pinching the edges together. Put on a baking parchment-lined tray or two, glaze with the final beaten egg and prick the tops to let the steam escape. Put in the oven and bake for 25‑30 minutes until golden.

Miso, ginger and pork mince noodles

The best thing about oriental cooking is how quick it is. It takes no time to whip up a quick noodles dish, and with flavours of miso, soy and ginger it will always be tasty. Using mince is a fast way to make a sauce for noodles, taking only minutes to fry.
Foodforaking, via GuardianWitness

Serves 2
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small leek, thinly sliced
200g pork mince
1 tbsp vegetable oil or rapeseed oil

100g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g egg noodles
50ml chicken stock
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2cm piece of ginger, minced
2 spring onions, sliced thinly lengthways
½ cucumber, sliced into thin batons

1 Fry the garlic, leek and mince in the oil until browned. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft.

2 Boil the noodles to their instructions, then mix the stock, miso, soy, mirin and ginger. Add to the meat sauce and cook until thickened slightly.

3 Serve the miso mince sauce over egg noodles, garnish with spring onions and cucumber.

Middle Eastern arayes (lamb-stuffed pitta sandwich)

A cooked pitta bread sandwich popular around the Middle East, which are very easy to make, stuffed with aromatic, spiced minced lamb. I like to serve mine with pickled green chillies and olives, but some herby plain yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice is pretty good too.
Marmaduke Scarlet, via GuardianWitness

Serves 5-6
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
500g lamb mince
3 tsp Lebanese 7-spice mix, or 1½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground allspice and ½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
A small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
5-6 pitta breads
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Sumac or fresh lemon juice
10-12 baby plum tomatoes, finely chopped
Olive oil

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Mix the onion with the lamb, ground spices, salt and parsley. Make sure the mix is well combined.

2 Cut each pitta either in half or along the long side. Using a very sharp knife, carefully slice the bread part-way through to "open" it. This is easier if the pitta has been warmed in the oven or a toaster first as it will puff up a little.

3 Spread each piece of pitta with about 2 tbsp of the mixture. Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper and sumac (or lemon juice) and top with a little chopped tomato. Fold back the top part of the pitta and lightly press down.

4 Lightly brush both sides of the pitta bread with olive oil. Place the stuffed pitta (arayes) on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, before turning over and cooking for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

A full-length Recipe Swap will be back next week, but don't forget there's always much more of our readers' contibutions at


Eve rustles up MizPepperpot's Jamaican patties. Photograph: Jill Mead/Guardian 


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