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.
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.