The photo shows 5 kilos of best mince with a fat content of 20%. I have always used the classic 80/20 ratio of meat to fat, from the flank and clod areas. I then process the mince using the fat content to flavour the meat which also reduces the calorie count vastly to a healthy weight watchers tally. Some pie makers will insert the raw mince straight into the pie casing, season, add other spices fix the pastry lid and bake. There are commentators who say that this is the “Traditional way”, Traditional way my foot!!!
A very dangerous recipe to one’s health (as my set of photos will show), and even more perilous to the thousands of young children who eat pie'n'mash. Did our Mothers and Grandparents use raw mince be it beef or lamb when making “shepherd's or cottage pie”? Did they hell! they cooked it first. I would also like to add that I have heard and read many instances where the meat is uncooked in the middle of the pie using that method.
I now separate the meat from the fat by running cold water into the cooking vat. You can see the fat, which is still hot and in liquid form in the sink. When the water is running clear from the vat I remove and fill the sink fast with cold water which makes the saturated fat solidify as photos below show. Saturated fat is found in butter, cheese, red meat and other animal-based foods. Decades of sound science has proven it can raise your “bad” cholesterol and put you at a higher risk for heart disease. BUT there is much debate fore and against saturated fat which I won't go into here. All I know is I work with extracting fat from the mince every day and I find that this is a nasty clogging fat, and I don't want to be responsible for putting this into people's bodies, especially the young, some even babes in arms!
So back to my recipe, I have used the fat to its full extent to flavour the meat. I have also added a hint of spices and lemon juice to further enhance the flavour. I have now used three of the elements of good cooking FAT - HEAT - ACID at this stage I have not added the fourth which is SALT.
I now fold the mince into a lightly salted rich beef gravy just enough so that each particle of the mince has a fine coating and leave in fridge overnight where the beef marinate will tenderize and flavour the mince even further when baked in my pastry crusts.
In 2000 Trading Standard Officers arrived unannounced and obtained 2 (two) baked and 2 (two) unbaked pies from the recipe above and weeks later a letter with test results and compliments arrived saying they had never came across a meat pie with such a high meat content.