I’m not talking about grinding skinless/boneless meat. I’m talking about grinding already-ground meat. They recommend this in some Middle Eastern recipes for kofta - why? It seems to me that it makes the meat more adhesive but you have to be careful of toughness.
Interested in the thoughts of the experts here.
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
It’s a texture thing, making it more of a paste, so a firmer texture. I have tried it for Eastern Mediterranean and Asian kebabs, but no longer bother for either. It does mean that you need to be a bit more careful when turning them under the grill.
Lamb mince usually has quite a high fat content so there shouldnt be any toughness issues.
For some kababs and koftas, a very fine grind is required - true for indian food too. The texture of the final product is different than a usual ground meat kabab. Sometimes the meat is ground twice, sometimes even a third time after additions.
There is also an emulsification technique (in Middle East and Eastern Europe) for a similar outcome - cold water or ice cubes are used, and the hand is used to whip them into the meat till the fat emulsifies.
When it’s not a native/familiar technique, it sounds strange because it’s contrary to other cautions not to overwork ground meat, but it’s very specific and of course it works. If the correct process is followed, the result is not tough - it just has a very fine mouthfeel at the end.
In addition to creating a finer overall grind, this also emulsifies the meat and fat to some extent. When making sausage, you do this on purpose to achieve what is known as the “primary bind,” which is what keeps sausages juicy as they cook (if you have ever made or eaten a dry-as-sawdust yet somehow greasy sausage, lack of primary bind is the culprit). I make my meatloaf, kofte and meatballs this way, although usually I only grind half the meat finely (usually along with aromatics/vegetable filler) and then hand mix it with the coarser half to retain a medium overall texture.
On a related note, contrary to a lot of chef-y advice, I have started working my ground beef pretty aggressively (by hand) when making burgers in order to approach the primary bind stage before shaping into patties. I find that when using a fatty grind (75/25), it really helps the burger retain a juicy texture, just as it does with sausage. You have to be a bit more careful not to go too far with a burger because it can get tough, but as long as you are doing it by hand there isn’t too much danger.
This is probably tangential to what you are asking, but I’ve food processed ground meat sometimes after cooking it, to get a more uniform consistency, if I’m using it in a sauce or chili. Otherwise when sautéing ground meat you often get a bunch of too-big chunks.
I can’t find the original post referenced in the below link but before we had a dishwasher just about the only way we’d use the food processor was by putting cling film under the lid. It’s a bit wasteful but it was the difference between us using the appliance and not.
I too used to be very neurotic about overworking my meat, especially in the context of meatloaf. At one point a few years back, I can’t remember why, I mixed my meatloaf mix using a handheld electric cake beater. Best meatloaf I’d ever made, fabulous texture! My guests agreed. I’ve never looked back.
Frankly, I never imagined that I’d hear of a tool – after 40+ years of cooking (not to age me – I’m still physically 28 and mentally 18)-- I didn’t know of. What’s at the business end of this choptsir? The pictures don’t show. Blades? Grooves?
I’m inclined to get me one. My kheema has always inclined to the lumpy.