Sunday, April 25, 2010

One of my very favorite dishes


This is one of my very favorite dishes, and it has been ever since I was a small kid. As it happens, it's also one of the least photogenic ones. And it's not sophisticated, or complicated, at all.

What it is is a *very* simplified version of Pelmeenid. Or spagetti bolognese. Or both. In my family, we always called it "false Pelmeenid". And nowadays, I call it Estonian mince. While it doesn't really have much to do with Estonia, it was something my grandfather (who was Estonian) and dad would make, so to me, it's Estonian.

Anyway. You don't really need a recipe. Mince an onion. Fry it in a little bit of butter. Add ground beef. Cook for a few minutes while stirring - it should lose it's pinkness. Add salt, black pepper and a little bit of water. Cook for a few minutes. And serve with macaroni.

Sometimes I add a splash of distilled white vinegar as well, to get it more sour. And I always, always eat it with lots of ketchup.


dm said...

I just wondered if it has anything to do with Russian dish 'Pelmeni' (a kind of dumplings with minced beef and oignon inside). It's also a russian tradition to call 'lazy X' or 'false X' the version of dish X that is made by mixing farce and cabbage leaves instead of stuffing them (or mixing with macaroni).

Btw, exactly the same russian dish is called macaroni fleet-style

Anne said...

dm - definitely, the Russian Pelmeni and the Estonian is pretty much the same, as far as I know. My family makes the real deal once a year or so, but it's pretty time-consuming. How interesting about macaroni fleet-style - I'm thrilled that there are more people around the world eating my simple childhood dish :)

dm said...

Ann- there is a special ustensil to make 'pelmeni' 30 pieces at a time, so the process becomes bearable, we've even brought one from Siberia where we lived to France. Not frequently used though, your climate should be more suitable

Åsa said...

Åh, det var länge sedan! :-) Inte så "fotogenique" mat nä, men gott. Det där åt jag när jag växte upp. Tror mamma lagade potatismos till det om jag inte minns fel.

Puglette said...

i sometimes make a similar dish but i make a gravy in the pan with the ground beef. just a simple one, flour, butter and broth or water. i serve it over macaroni, rice or mashed potatoes.
i may have to try it with a splash of vinegar.

Bean said...

With the ketchup it sounds like "sloppy joe" in the US. But you mix the ketchup into the meat and let simmer for a bit before serving. Here it is served on soft rolls rather than over macaroni.

Pille said...

Anne, the dish is called "makaronid hakklihaga" - I haven't blogged about it, but there's of course and recipe on my Estonian site: :)
I tend to use pork, but yes, it's a great childhood favourite and I still make it every now and then!

Anne said...

Pille, oh thank you! I'm glad it's not just me, and then I can happily go on to call in Estonian mince :)

Unknown said...

For me, this is childhood comfort food, too, although it never had a name other than "that ground beef with gravy thing you make". My French-Canadian mom would make this for me and my four siblings when we were very small and she felt pressed for time. Like Puglette, it always had the same simple gravy of just flour and cooking broth and it was always served over macaroni (or egg noodles).

My mom used to say that this dish saw her family through the Great Depression when she was a girl, but I also think it satisfied a nostalgic urge for her whenever she prepared it. Now that my mom is gone, I make this a couple of times a year when I'm feeling particularly "needy". BTW, my partner refuses to admit that he loves this dish just as much as I do - it's so ugly! He always has seconds, though. lol