Matt Pre­ston:

Makes the case to bring ris­soles back into Vogue

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - CONTENTS - MATT PRE­STON @mattscra­vat @MattsCra­vat

BLACK is back as retro Aussie clas­sics make a come­back driven by a huge surge of pub­lic in­ter­est.The re­turn of retro is re­flected in the booming searches on recipe sites like de­li­cious.com.au and taste.com.au for dishes like chow mein, sweet and sour, dev­illed eggs, coro­na­tion chicken and prawn cock­tail.

So far, the hum­ble rissole has been lag­ging be­hind in this rev­o­lu­tion­ary retro love-in. Per­haps mem­o­ries of those orig­i­nal grey hand grenades of mince tem­per our en­thu­si­asm for what should stand as one of the con­tenders for Aus­tralia’s na­tional dish.

I say this not just be­cause the rissole has been there since the ear­li­est days of the bush pi­o­neers and, made with ra­tioned bully beef and grated hard­tack, it sus­tained our An­zacs at Gal­lipoli, but be­cause, like this great coun­try, it is flex­i­ble enough to wel­come all flavours from around the world whether they came here by plane or boat.This is the true hero­ism of the modern rissole.

The se­cret of a great rissole has been known for longer. It’s been 21 years since Dar­ryl Ker­ri­gan (played by Michael Ca­ton) praised his wife’s ris­soles in The

Cas­tle. Sal (Anne Ten­ney) bats away the com­pli­ment with, “Ev­ery­body cooks ris­soles, darl,” but then Dar­ryl of­fers true culi­nary in­sight into this most Aussie of din­ners,with the im­mor­tal words: “Yeah, but it’s what you do with them.”

That right there is the se­cret to the res­ur­rec­tion of the rissole. It’s al­ways been a wel­come friend to cus­tomi­sa­tion, whether as a will­ing home to left­overs or pli­ant pal of your wildest flavour flights of fancy. So here are five rules for mak­ing your Aussie ris­soles rock harder than An­gus Young’s mi­nor pen­ta­tonic riff in “TNT”.

SELECT YOUR MEAT

Whether it’s a fried – or fried and baked – patty you’re mak­ing,you can build a rissole with pretty much any mince you’d like.You don’t even need to use mince. Some more wis­dom, this time from the young Dale Ker­ri­gan (Stephen Curry): “Mum reck­ons the trick is you don’t use mince meat, she gets top­side and crushes it.” In­ter­est­ingly this is how it’s recorded that Fran­cis­can monks in the Mid­dle Ages made ‘ris­soles’ for feasts: by pound­ing pork or chicken into a paste and then press­ing it into balls.

CHOOSE THE FLAVOUR­ING

If you look back at rissole recipes from the past cen­tury,you’ll find the minced meat flavoured with ev­ery­thing from curry pow­der and dried herbs to dol­lops of sweet chilli, bar­be­cue or even tomato sauce. I think we can do bet­ter than that and make ris­soles into some­thing you can still call your own.

ADD BULK

If you just press pounded or minced meat to­gether to make ris­soles you’ll get those grey grenades.That’s why good rissole recipes al­most al­ways in­clude some­thing to lighten the mix and also to bulk out the ris­soles; whether it’s bread­crumbs, oats or corn­flake crumbs. Other ways to add bulk in­clude ev­ery­thing from lentils (great in a spicy vin­daloo rissole) to left­over veg.

MAKE A GLAZE

Vin­tage ris­soles would nor­mally be served with some­thing sweet and sour like a chut­ney or have that sweet and sour­ness al­ready in them (thanks to the ad­di­tion of sweet chilli, bar­be­cue or tomato sauce). I would rather add this as a sim­ple pan glaze to con­trast with meaty salin­ity of the rissole. Mak­ing a glaze also means you can cap­ture all the brown meaty good­ness that might oth­er­wise be left in the pan.

Af­ter cook­ing my World’s Best Ris­soles, I’ll re­move them and deglaze the pan over a gen­tle heat with a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons of malt vine­gar and ¼ cup of mint jelly.When the jelly melts into the vine­gar I re­turn these herby ris­soles to the pan and toss to coat. It’s amaz­ing how a glaze will lift even or­di­nary lamb ris­soles like mine to an­other level.

You can do the same thing with other ris­soles.Tur­key ris­soles love a glaze of cran­berry sauce and cider vine­gar bal­anced with a lit­tle caster su­gar or honey.Those hot vin­daloo ris­soles go great with a red wine and gar­lic gas­trique. For pork ris­soles with diced cooked car­rot, fen­nel and five-spice pow­der, try a hoisin glaze. Chicken ris­soles are great coated in sweet chilli sauce loos­ened with lemon juice, or just maple syrup with a lit­tle sriracha.

THINK ABOUT SIDES

Ris­soles de­serve mash but don’t be lim­ited to potato.You can ob­vi­ously stray as far from this norm as you like – ris­soles are equally at home in a salad, served in dressed pasta, cous­cous, rice noo­dles or even with fried rice.You can eat them for din­ner, or pack them in a school lunch box in a wrap, roll or bun. If you’ve glazed them, shred­ded ice­berg and a lit­tle mayo will make any of these bready com­bos a real treat. Visit de­li­cious.com.au for more of Matt’s ideas for mak­ing ris­soles your own.

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