Welcome to a new feature; the Recipe ReDux. I am so proud to have been accepted into this community of dietitian and health professionals who write about healthy food choices. The great thing about this community is that all the writers are vetted to ensure their work is underpinned with peer-reviewed scientific literature, making it a one stop shop for your health minded recipes.
Once a month we are served up a challenge to redux, latin for brought back, a recipe into a more healthy version. For me this is a natural fit, as just about every recipe I come across I have to redux to make it Migraine-friendly. Sometimes I feel like my entire cooking career is adjusting and redoing favourites so that they don’t make Stuart sick. At least now I have a bit of an outlet for them 😁.
This month’s challenge is to share a healthy recipe highlighting a favorite kitchen tool, gadget, or gizmo that you received over the holidays, or an old tried and true appliance. My kitchen is very small so I don’t have a lot of space for appliances. I have to be very judicious in my kitchen gadgets. Needless to say I couldn’t justify anything new this year. So I’m going with one of the must have appliances for every household with a migraine sufferer (that’s one in four in case you were wondering)….a meat grinder.
I personally think that everyone should be grinding their own meat. Minced meat has gotten a bit of a bad rap. To be honest, it is partially deserved as high volume commercial mince meat may contain offcuts, high amounts of fat and in some cases illegal preservatives. Migraineurs benefit from a meat grinder for two reasons:
- as you are grinding your own meat, you can guarantee that there are no migraine-triggering preservatives; and
- you know exactly where the meat was sourced, ensuring that it is not contaminated by the environment where it was grown.
We have a Kenwood Meat Grinder 2000, an upgrade about 6 years ago from a $40 E-bay model. Originally we started out making our own sausages, and I’ve written about that and selecting a meat grinder here. If you are just starting out and trying to decide if you need a meat grinder, you can use your food processor to grind meat in small batches. It tends to just finely chop the meat, which is different consistency than pushing it through the sieve, but it gives you the opportunity to play with the flavours before the investment.
With our three boys we went through about a 10 year period with loose teeth and braces that meant we needed to eat a lot of soft food. We discovered a whole wonderful culinary world for the uses of mince across so many cultures.
Besides all the thousands of types of sausages there are to make, from breakfast to Peking duck, we perfected the sausage roll, meatballs for a moorish sub and lamb koftas for the best shawarmas. We found that Thai larb salads were a great way to beat the heat and created our own version of san choy bau or as we like to call them, Chinese tacos.
We experimented with types and cuts of meat to mince. Meatballs were best with a pork and beef mince, Thai larb with chicken or prawn and san choy bau with lamb or duck.
And then there were burgers. Creating the best burger requires a mix of lean and fatty meat. When making a mince for beef burgers we like the strong tastes of brisket (lean) and chuck (fatty). However our favourite burgers, and a special treat, are lamb burgers. We spent years experimenting with leg and shoulder in various combinations. In the end we found that the leg meat has a stronger flavour and too much fat so it tended to be a bit greasy. We have settle on the taste and fat content of a lean shoulder to make our lamb mince.
Grinding your own meat takes no more than 15 minutes for a massive increase in flavour and the health benefit of reducing the fat compared to commercial grade mince. The only downside is cleaning up the mincer. Stuart and I have a trade off here, I mince and sausage make and he cleans the mincer. Pretty much all of the mincer needs to be washed by hand. I think it only fair that the migraineur do the washing up. Enjoy my friends.
That’s a Mighty Fine Burger
The perfect burger is all about high quality ground beef that is best achieved by grinding your own.
Required skills: chopping without losing a finger.
My step-father, Gary, named this burger. Visiting from America, the land of really good burgers, while I was taking the photos for this post. As we sat down to lunch in complete silence, music to any cook’s ear, was broken by his slightly southern drawl “That’s a mighty fine burger.”. “See, this is why you have to grind your own meat. It really does make a difference.” I replied. Just a nod, smile and a bit of burger juice on the chin was all I got in return. It was all I needed in return.
The lean meat (brisket) to fatty meat (chuck) ratio depends on how you like your burgers done. Rare to medium a 70% brisket 30% chuck will result in a moist burger. Medium-well to well requires a bit more fat to keep the burger from drying out, so a 60% brisket 40% chuck results in a better burger.
Patties can be frozen and stored for up to 3 months. It is OK to cook the patties frozen if you forget to take them out to thaw.
Rare to medium
350 gm (¾ lb)
150 gm (¼ lb)
Medium to well
300 gm (⅔ lb)
200 gm (⅓ lb)
- Meat grinder with a coarse and medium sieve
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 slice of cheese of your liking per burger (we prefer the nutty taste of Jarlsberg)
- 1 tbsp egg mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)
- 2 tbsp pot set natural goat’s yogurt
- 1 tbsp ketchup (I use Heinz Organic)
- Vine ripen tomato, thinly sliced
- Fresh crisp iceberg or butter lettuce
- Bread/bun of your choosing
- Cut the meat into chunks that fit into your grinder and push through the coarse sieve. If using a food processor, cut into a 3 cm (1-1 ½ inch) cube and pulse chop until it is at a coarse chop.
- Turn the meat into a large bowl and massage with our hands. This is not kneading like bread, but a mixing of the meats and fats with each other.
- Once it comes together, 2-3 minutes, you can put it through the medium sieve. If using a food processor return to the basket and pulse chop to desired consistency.
- Form into 4 patties shaped like the bread of your choice.
- Make the sauce by placing the mayonnaise in a small bowl and stirring until smooth. Add the yoghurt and stir. Stir through the ketchup and set aside.
- Grill to your liking over a high heat.
- Lightly toast your bread as this will soak up the juices from the cooked burger.
- Place a bit of special sauce on the bottom bread, burger, tomato, lettuce then the top bread.
So my friends, why not find out what other kitchen tool, gadget or gizmo that you can’t live without at