Magical Moroccan Mince with a pistachio and date gravel
CHEFS MINCE NOTE:
REMEMBER if there is grey liquid in you pan at any stage it is simply because the pan is too cold, you are stirring too much, and the mince is stewing. Scrape all the mince to the ONE side of the pan, leaving half the pan NAKED, put up the heat and back away from the pan. Eventually the grey liquid will cook back into the mince and VOILA, you have learnt to cook mince in the sexiest way! It really does mean FREE flavour.
You will now live happily ever after. Here’s how you do it.
2 squirts of a canola or rice bran cooking spray into a large non-stick pan
800g lean beef mince ( fluff this up with your hands so it’s all nice and loose and fluffy and not in one big block)
1 large onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon ras el hanout (you can make your own using my recipe OR just use 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder and 1/2 coriander powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric (MOST important ingredient other than good quality mince, this will add fabulous colour to your otherwise drab mince!)
1/2 cup finely diced fennel or you could use grated carrot, zucchini or you choose!
1 tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes or use one tin chopped tomato
2 tablespoons tomato paste or passata
1 vegetable or beef stock cube crumbled to a powder
salt and pepper to season.
about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
Pistachio and date gravel
1-2 tablespoons pistachios bashed or chopped to a nice coarse gravel
2 tablespoons finely chopped dates
I added some dried rose petals but if you don’t have that grate in some lemon zest (1/2 teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley or coriander for colour
First thing you should do is heat and grease a large pan until just about smoking hot. The mince MUST sizzle when it hits the pan…
Now add the mince that you have broken up in the packaging or a bowl so it is loose and fluffy already. Put the mince into the pan…IT SHOULD SIZZLE nice and loud and sexy.
DO NOT STIR, I know you are worried about this burning and you are also worried about lumps, but let the mince brown and seal on the first side you put down FIRST and let the pan heat up again and THEN you can stir ever so slightly just to get some more mince onto the base of the pan. My favourite mince ‘fluffer’ is one of those cheap plastic coated whisks you get at the supermarket that only have about 4 loops. If you don’t have one of those use a strong plastic spoon or egg flip to break down the mince.
Once the mince is brown and fragrant and sexy ALL BY ITSELF, then and only then do you add the finely chopped onion and garlic. There should be enough oil out of the mince that you have rendered off during your amazing sizzle cooking of the mince at a nice high heat. You can stir as much as you like now by the way, that mince is SEALED off!
Now add the spices, stock powder and seasoning and stir through. Amazing colour isn’t it!
Finally add the chopped tomatoes and passata and the chick peas and you’re practically done. Turn down the heat and let that all cook through and then add the lemon zest and it’s ready to serve.
This way of cooking will not only save you time, BUT it will add valuable flavour and vibrant personality to your otherwise boring mince.
I love to get creative with my mince and change the spices thus changing the flavour.
I served mine with a yogurt swirl and the pistachio and date gravel with just a twist of fresh peppery rocket leaves.
Want to give your mince a makeover?
Now that you can cook mince perfectly, why not change the theme and the style of your mince. I like to take my mince around the world!
Try (instead of the ras el hanout but ALWAYS leave the turmeric in)
1 tablespoon smoke paprika for a Spanish Style mince. You could also add some finely diced or chopped chorizo to this to really make it Spanish.
1 tablespoon curry powder to make an Indian style mince. Add chopped chilli and fresh coriander and then serve!
Chinese 5 spice is another favourite!