Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the Edge

I almost gave up today. I had defrosted beef mince to magically transform into dinner tonight, and I just couldn't be bothered to come up with something nice to do with it. Normally we do the nice but very, very boring tagliatelle bolognaise. Easy peasy. Defrost mince, fry with some onions, add sauce (from a bottle, we'
re not into being virtuous these days), serve with some pasta. It's quick to make, tastes good, and is Little Girl friendly.

I used to be quite proud of the usual suspects in my little freezer cubby hole: mince, chicken breast fillets (the Fabulous Man doesn't like the brown meat), prawns. Maybe some lamb chops. It's amazing how many recipes are out there to jazz up your boring beef mince or boring chicken fillets. I have quite a stash of them, and I used to be able to make a few different dishes with some basic ingredients. But you know what? I'm bored with beef mince and chicken fillets. So bored, I felt like throwing the defrosted mince in the bin and get take-away pizza.

Good thing I'm not into waste. I vowed to come up with one last mince dinner for at least a month. Maybe two months. Browsing the internet, I saw that there are basically two kinds of mince recipes out there: different versions of savoury mince, usually with pasta, and different versions of meatballs, including that horror of all horrors: meatloaf. Boring. I persevered. More Google searches of Best Mince Recipes. Still boring. I racked my brains, and came up with this brilliant idea: hamburgers.

Yesterday we went for lunch at a pub the Fabulous Man wanted to go to for ages. As soon as I set foot into the place I was unimpressed. Dirty carpet, cold room. Unfriendly waitress. Boring specials (I can't even remember now what they were). I decided to have a hamburger, because it's pretty hard to mess that up, right? Not in this place. Stale roll, limp lettuce, blah meat. I had a few bites, and politely left the rest. Good thing the waitress didn't ask me if I enjoyed my meal, because it's tough if you have to choose between being rude or to downright lie. Surely it can't be that hard to make a decent hamburger?

So, I decided that I am going to make proper burgers for dinner. Not a burger with the lot, which in Australia means beef patty, bacon, cheese, egg, beetroot (!), lettuce and onion rings. Just a normal burger, but a bit fancy. We had some brie in the fridge, and I vaguely remember eating hamburger patties as a child which was stuffed with cheese. I thought it would be nice to bite into the meat, and finding a creamy cheesy centre.

I wasn't wrong.They turned out fabulous. I was really surprised by how good they tasted. They were spicy, meaty and creamy, all in one. I made four, meaning to save two for lunch tomorrow, but we had them all, they were that good. You'll see that the brie is the only slightly different thing about this recipe. The rest is pretty basic. This is not rocket science, and it makes me wonder how people justify serving bad food to paying customers.

So, a pretty good recipe to say au revoir with to my former freezer staple, methinks. Now I just have to use up the last of the boring chicken breast fillets, and I'll be back with something a bit more interesting.

Hamburgers with Brie
Makes 4

500g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
a small handful of chopped parsley
50g brie

4 hamburger rolls
roasted tomato jam

In a bowl, mix together the mince, onion, cumin, egg and parsley, using your hands. Divide the mixture into four.

Cut in the brie into four pieces, and form each share of mince around a piece of brie, making sure the cheese is well covered. Flatten the patties. Cover, and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Heat some oil in a pan, and cook the patties for about 5 minutes each side, or until done.

Serve with the rolls, lettuce and tomato jam, and any other topping you like. I served them with some butternut roasted with olive oil and cumin, which was fabulous.


  1. Oooo yummee!!! You really bounced back with this recipe!!

    2 Interesting mince recipes you might want to try!


  2. Nina, they all look lovely, thanks very much. I make Bobotie occasionally when I'm alone, because my husband thinks he doesn't like fruit in savoury dishes. One day when I'm not exhausted, I might try and show him he's mistaken.

  3. Oh wow!! Nothing boring about that. The only thing hbetter than cheese on a burger is cheese IN a burger!