Thursday, April 29, 2010

Real-life rissoles

I grew up with rissoles - usually on Mondays. They're one of those things that I never actually asked my mother how to make. But when I came to make them myself, I realised I must have been watching, because I did know roughly what to do. But I've just been looking up rissole recipes on-line, and I'm shocked. In my view none of them are authentic, because they use fresh mince. That's not what rissoles are made of! The real-life rissole is always made of leftover roast meat (which is why we had them on Mondays, after Sunday's lunchtime roast and teatime cold meat). When I was growing up they were usually made of hogget or beef - pork was for special occasions only, and it all got eaten before there could be any question of rissoles.

Harvey loves any kind of rissoles, and after we've had a roast he always asks hopefully if there's enough meat left over for them. He never wants any potato or bread with them - he argues that there's already enough carbohydrate inside. If he eats three, I know I've got them just right.

I used to put the meat through a mincer, but then we acquired a food processor. The first time I used it to make rissoles, it was a disaster. I put everything in at once, and the result was a kind of brownish paste. You could make patties with it, but the texture had nothing to do with the authentic rissole, which should just hold together and be a bit crumbly when you cut into it. Since then I've learnt to grind up the various ingredients in separate batches before mixing them rogether. There's no exact recipe, because it all depends on the amount of cold meat available. You mince the chunks or slices of meat in the processor first, see how much you've got, put it in a big bowl and add the other things to it.

First you need something to bulk it out a bit. You can use leftover mashed potato, or fresh breadcrumbs (which can be made in the processor after you remove the meat), or either or both of these with a little flour. The crucial thing is not to overwhelm the meat with the padding, or the rissoles will be too stodgy and dull.

Mix meat and padding together well, with plenty of salt and pepper. Then use the pulse button to mince a small onion, garlic if you like it, and some herbs - parsley, thyme, oreganum - together in the processor, and add them to the mixture.

Break in an egg (or two, if you have a lot of meat etc) and mix thoroughly. The mixture should not be too wet or too dry - it should just hold together enough for you to shape it into balls, using damp hands. If one egg leaves it just a bit too dry, you can use a bit of stock, wine or water, but be careful not to make it too wet. Flatten each ball and coat it lightly with flour on each side, or fine dry breadcrumbs if you prefer (but flour is traditional!).

Set the oven to low - about 100C - and put an oven tray in to warm, with a folded piece of kitchen paper on it to absorb any excess oil. Heat a frypan with a small amount of oil. (My mother, of course, always used lard or dripping, but we wouldn't do that now, would we. It tasted good, though.) When it's hot (but not smoking), cook the rissoles over medium heat in batches, not too many at a time - I get five into a large non-stick pan. They should be brown and a little crispy on each side. As each batch cooks, put them on the tray in the oven to keep warm.


We eat them with a salad, and I like some kind of chutney or chili sauce too (at home it was always bought tomato sauce) and some fresh bread and butter. Harvey is a purist - he just wants plain rissoles, followed by a bit of salad because it's good for him. If there are any left over, they're good cold for lunch next day.

14 comments:

Deborah said...

I simply fail to see how there could possibly be any left!

AnneE said...

Ah well, there never used to be - but Harvey has such a small appetite now, and is the one person I know whose eyes are NEVER bigger than his (minute capacity) stomach. And I'm trying very hard NOT to pack all the leftovers tidily away on my hips...

mermaidnz said...

I don't remember my mother ever making rissoles - we always had Shepherd's Pie on Mondays to use up the Sunday roast. It was one of my favourite meals - the meat moistened with left-over gravy, and eked out with any left-over veggies, some sage or thyme added for extra flavour, and the mashed potato topping nicely browned. Real comfort food, and nothing ever wasted. After reading your blog I googled Shepherd's Pie and like you was shocked to find that most recipes used fresh mince! Some even included garlic, red wine and tomatoes, with things like cheese and sour cream in the topping. We hardly ever have a roast nowadays, but I'm tempted to go out and buy a leg of hogget (can you still buy such a thing?) for the nostalgic pleasure of Shepherd's Pie just like Mother used to make.

Suzieanne said...

Rissoles that brings back memories of my mother making them when I was a child.I can only remember them made with corned beef left over from tea the night before.I have attempted to make them, but somehow they were never very nice usually falling to bits before they reached the plate,there were always these strange looks at what they were supposed to be as they were never round ,so I then decided my talents in the cooking department lay else where.

AWOL said...
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I'm not here said...

My Mum's recipe was for equal quantities of minced cold meat and cold cooked rice. Mix it with @1tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp each garlic and onion powder, 2 tblspn tomato sauce (ketchup) for every 1 cup of meat, one small onion chopped finely and one small egg. Mix this all together, form into rissoles and egg and breadcrumb them and fry until brown.

These are a such a favourite that we roast lamb/beef etc just to make the rissoles.

Eirwen said...

My husband has been begging me for rissoles like his Mum used to make for years. When we were first married I sometimes made them but couldn't be bothered after that. Now I am inspired to make them again - I won't tell him until he sees them on the plate. Thanks for the recipes (the rice one looks interesting too). I agree that it's not authentic to use raw mince - that's what beefburgers are made from.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child I the 70's my mother used to buy rissoles from the butcher. I dread tothinkwhat was in them as they tasted horrible. The worst part was the fact that my mother used to cook the rissoles in the oven for me and my two brothers while she cooked my dad a lovely pork chop or steak.

sharon said...

I remember my mum making rissoles just like your recipe and I have managed to make them just as nice, thanks to you! I added chopped wild garlic leaves (in season right now), as my partner can not eat onions so the garlic was an alternative. Absolutely delicious!

Heather Deakin said...

These recipes were from a different era and before my time, but sound lovely. I'm interested in the old ways and will certainly try making these. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

this sounds like the ones i remember in the late 60s 70s yummy

Unknown said...

A really tasty tea with crusty bread and butter d jc

Djc said...

A really tasty tea with crusty bread and butter d jc

Carol Hansen said...

i make mine with minced beef left over from Sunday a bit of corn beef if got some,mashed potato and i mix in sage & onion stuffing seved with baked beans, thats how my Mum made them.