The way to end up with a low fat mince dish is to start with low fat ingredients, especially the raw mince that has been made from meat that is naturally low in fat. Venison is particularly low in fat. If using meat such as beef or lamb or mutton, try to find mince that has been made from lean cuts of meat. That is where most of the fat was cut off the meat before being minced. Turkey mince is low in fat but the cooked texture of the mince is very soft. Farmer’s markets are often a good place to source your mince.
For vegetarians and for an almost fat free mince, it would be made from dried soya, or textured vegetable protein. For a better texture, my choice would be a mince made from dried soya chunks rather than a dried soya mince. As soya has very little taste, You will need to add plenty herbs and flavourings, otherwise it will be rather bland.
Ingredients for mince
700 g lean mince, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 1 sweet pepper, several cloves of garlic or elephant garlic, several mushrooms, fresh herbs( 4 bay leaves, thyme, rosemary), can of larger or beer.
Optional ingredients could include 6 soft dried apricots and 6 juniper berries, Worcester sauce, beef, lamb or vegetable stock. Chestnuts make a good addition.
Method for Mince.
Into a large, deep non-stick fry pan with a glass lid( if possible), put in the mince and chopped carrots and gently fry, turning frequently, until the fat from the meat runs. If using venison, you will have to add a tbs of vegetable oil to the pan as venison is extremely low in fat (3%). Add the chopped onions, pepper, until the vegetables start to soften. Add enough of the larger or beer to the mixture to keep it quite moist, adding the garlic cloves and fresh herbs and simmer. Now prepare the dumplings.
Ingredients for herby dumplings.
1 cup plain flour (200 g), 2 tsp baking powder, good grind of pepper. Handful of chopped mixed soft herbs (parsley, oregano, mint, chives or what is available),1 tbs of vegetable oil.
Preparation of herby dumplings
Sieve the flour, baking powder, pepper into a bowl. Finely chop the soft herbs and mix well with 6 tbs water and 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a container. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and mix with a fork until combined into a dough. If the dough has not come together, add another tsp of water.
Divide into 8 portions, and with floured hands, form into dumplings. Place on top of the mince having added enough of the larger or beer to keep the mince moist, replace the lid and simmer gently for 15 min. The dumplings should have doubled in size and be moist as they steamed on top of the mince.
Add 1 tbs of vegetable oil to the pan and add the chopped carrots and simmer till they soften, then add the other vegetables. Prepare the soya in accordance with the packet instructions, add to the pan along with the larger or beer.
Once the vegetables are soft, prepare the dumplings and sit on top of the mince and simmer for 15 min.