I don’t think there’s anyone who really appreciates ground beef – or as we call it, mincemeat, like we Trinbagonians do (especially the guys). And on a day like today, where we honour our hard working Daddies, Grandpas, Godfathers and Uncles, it’s known that their tummies will certainly appreciate a good, solid meal made from said mincemeat. If you think that all minced beef came from the supermarket, you’d only be half right. I’m sure Dad will remember that back in the day, we made our own mincemeat. Choice cuts of beef were procured from the butcher and brought home to be ground up using a hand cranked mill that we had to assemble – what food processor you talking about?
As the bits of beef went into it, we added the fresh seasonings (onions, garlic, chives, etc) one time, so all that was left to do was to cook it how we pleased. Nine times out of ten, we created some spectacular fare from that mix. So why should Father’s Day be any different? Of course, today’s butchers happily give us Styrofoam and Saran wrapped packs (and logs) of mincemeat that have been weighed and measured for our convenience, which we then turn into delicious savoury treats such as pastelles, meat pies, arepas, meatballs, lasagna and more. So, without further ado, Dads, I’m dedicating this page to you by giving you some good Eye Food made from that lovely ingredient and which I’m sure your families will prepare with love for you on your special day. Here are easy recipes for Shepherd’s Pie, Chilli con Carne and a classic Burger from me, Halcian Pierre, to you! (How’s that for a mincemeat triple play?)
Happy Father’s Day!
2 lbs regular minced beef
1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
1 large clove garlic, grated finely
¼ to 1/3 cup of fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper or red pepper flakes
1 red pimento pepper, minced finely
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
1 egg, beaten lightly
Assorted dressings and sauces
• Place the beef in a large bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients, mixing well with your hands until everything is just combined. (Don’t overwork the meat too much or your burgers will be tough.)
• Next, wet your hands and then scoop up enough meat to shape into a 4 ½ inch burger patty by flattening it to about 1 inch thick and smoothing the edges. Continue the process until the meat is used up.
• The burgers can now be cooked either on a griddle pan, a non-stick frying pan with a bit of oil, a George Foreman grill or even a barbeque. Whichever method you choose, just make sure you pre-heat the surface of your frying pan, griddle pan, George Foreman grill or barbeque to a medium heat.
• Gently place two to three patties on your chosen surface – never overcrowd them. Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, turning them once only. (If using a George Foreman grill, this step is not necessary.)
• Place your burgers on a waiting bun and dress them to your taste with any of the following: lettuce, sliced onion and tomatoes, a slaw of shredded carrots and
cabbage, sliced cheese, pineapple, pickles, relish, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, honey mustard, pepper sauce and garlic sauce.
1 ½ - 2 lbs potatoes (3 large ones)
8 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
¾ cup of fresh, diced carrots
1 ½ lbs ground round beef
2 stalks chive, sliced thinly
2 leaves chadon beni, chopped
3 pimento peppers, chopped
A small bunch of thyme, leaves removed
½ cup of canned corn
¾ cup of frozen green peas
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of ketchup
½ cup of beef broth (made from beef bouillon cubes)
• Peel and quarter the potatoes and put them to boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
• While the potatoes are cooking, melt half the butter (4 tablespoons) in a large frying pan.
• Sauté the chopped onion in the butter; after a couple of minutes, add the fresh carrots to it and cook everything until tender (about 8 to 10 minutes) over medium heat.
• Add the ground beef and sauté until it is no longer pink.
• Put in the fresh seasonings (chive, chadon beni, pimento peppers and thyme leaves) and then the canned corn and frozen
peas; there’s no need to thaw the peas beforehand.
• Add salt and pepper to taste, followed by the Worcestershire sauce and the ketchup.
• Finally, add in half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep it moist.
• Remove from heat after cooking.
• Next, mash the boiled potatoes in bowl with the remainder of the butter and season to your taste with a little salt and pepper.
• In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spoon in the cooked beef and vegetables in a single layer at the bottom.
• Distribute the mashed potatoes on top to cover the beef completely using either a piping bag with a star tip or just with a regular spoon. You can choose to either rough up the potatoes with a fork so it will have some peaks that will brown nicely, or, you can smooth the potatoes with the back of the spoon and then use the fork to draw in some designs on the potatoes.
• Bake the Shepherd’s pie at 400 degrees F, until it’s bubbling and brown on top (about 30 minutes).
• Let it cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into it.
• Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chilli Con Carne
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1 red or green sweet pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs ground beef/mincemeat
2 stalks local celery, chopped
2 tins red kidney beans or small red beans, rinsed and drained
3 green pimento peppers, sliced, seeds in
½ a habanero or scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional)
1 bottle (8 ounces) Ragu or Prego tomato sauce
½ to ¾ bottle of water (pour the water into the empty tomato sauce bottle and shake it)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
• In a large iron pot, and on medium heat, brown the sliced onion, sweet pepper, garlic and ground beef in the oil; cook the beef until it’s no longer pink.
• Stir in the celery, pimento peppers, and habanero (or scotch bonnet pepper).
• Next, add the tomato sauce and water, brown sugar and stir. Taste for salt and heat and adjust accordingly.
• Add in the rinsed and drained beans and stir well to incorporate.
• Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes, adding a little more water if needed to keep the chilli from sticking.
• Taste after 20 minutes of cooking to check that the flavours have melded together.
• To serve, sprinkle the chilli with the chopped parsley. Serve hot or warm on a bed of white rice or with mashed potatoes.