Saturday 29 September 2012

Vegetarian Minced (Ground) Meat Substitute

A while ago I was asked by a friend to help her convert a number of heirloom recipes from being meat-based to being vegetarian. A lot of the recipes were based on ground (minced) meat, but my friend did not want to use commercial ground meat substitute (such as Quorn).

I put my thinking cap on and came up with a recipe for home-made ground meat substitute that could be used to transform any recipe using ground meat into a vegetarian dish.

Minced (Ground) Meat Replacement Recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 celery stick, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
a few drops of Tabasco sauce
pinch of smoked paprika
1 fresh bayleaf
90ml red wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
100ml strong vegetable stock
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
400g cooked puy lentils (tinned is fine)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and celery and fry gently for about 8 minutes, or until softened. Now stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, paprika, bayleaf, red wine, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar and parsley.

Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bayleaf and rosemary then stir the cooked puy lentils into the vegetable mix and bring back to a simmer. Continue heating gently until the mixture is almost dry then take off the heat.

This mixture can be made in large quantities in advance and frozen to keep for later use. It's excellent used as a base for a shepherd's pie or a cottage pie. But it will work equally well for substituting in any recipe that calls for minced (ground) lamb, beef, chicken or turkey.

This recipe is based on a recipe for Lentil Shepherd's Pie.

Find more British recipes on the Recipes from the British Isles page of this blog.

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