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rissoles with cheese and apple

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Here’s to processed foods: some of the best dishes cannot be called by any other name.

I’ve been thinking about all this processing of food and feel more and more a piggy in the middle. On one hand the simplest foods are the healthiest; processing invariably involves adding salt, sugar and various extras to bulk out or improve the flavour. The real baddies are industry-produced ready meals and snacks - they have on top of that all their E-numbers, various -ose, -ine or -ate substances making it seem like you’re about to eat the content of a chemistry lab. A no-brainer case of ‘bad for you’. But processing also means simply cooking so we’re in danger of getting caught up in the whole concept of ‘processed food’.

Cooking is good, nobody will argue. But processing is good too as it minimises waste. I can’t imagine many families eat up their roast to the tiniest morsel on the day it’s served - unless the family chef is majorly stingy. I bet in 8 cases out of 10 the remnants get chucked out - bar a few slices for reluctant sandwiches. With a bit of good will and twenty minutes of our time in the kitchen it needn’t be so.

Rissoles used to mean school dinner type of food to me - bland, mushy and insipid. Not so, you can easily make them as spiced up as you wish. Any meat goes - literally. Probably fish leftovers wouldn’t be that good though I sense a challenge. If you add cheese, you needn’t bulk it out with bread/potatoes that much - and what can’t be improved by a bit of cheese thrown in?

Processed foods - some are definitely the best stuff you can eat. Just do the processing yourself.

rissoles with cheese and apple


INGREDIENTS

  • Makes 6 rissoles: generous for 2, sensible for 3 people
  • 300g leftover cooked meat: duck, pork, beef, chicken or lamb
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • ½ bread roll or 2 slices of stale bread
  • ½ apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • ½ small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 20g grated Parmesan
  • 30g grated Emmental or Gruyere
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
  • a few tbsp. Panko breadcrumbs
  • oil, for frying


METHOD

Any leftover meat is good to use, but make sure it contains some fatty bits.

Briefly soak the bread in water and squeeze out excess liquid.

Mince the meat with the onion, garlic and the bread or whiz it in a food processor. Put aside half the Parmesan and a third of the Emmental to add to the breadcrumbs for coating. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the breadcrumbs and extra cheese to the bowl with the meat and mix well into a paste.

Place the breadcrumbs and the extra cheese in a shallow bowl. With wet hands shape 6 rissoles (about 85g each) into round patties or oblong torpedoes. Roll them thoroughly in the breadcrumbs mix, place on paper towels and chill in the fridge for ½ hour.

Heat up oil (only about 1cm deep) in a large frying pan. When shimmering, carefully add the rissoles and immediately turn them over with a spatula - they will stick otherwise. Fry on all sides until brown and crisp, turning frequently. Drain on paper towels and serve with green salad.

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