I have a bolognese sauce recipe that says to cook a mixture of pork and beef stew meat, and then mince the meat. With garden tomatoes in season, I would like to make a very large batch to either freeze or can, but I am dreading the thought of mincing all this meat. Is there a recommended way to use a food processor or some other machine to do this for me? I am concerned that if I do it incorrectly, the meat will turn into sausage and have a very different texture in the sauce.

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    Have you considered finding a different recipe? Most of the ones I've seen use ground meat. – Catija Aug 31 '17 at 0:22
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    I certainly ~could~ use a different recipe, but since I like the one I have, if there's 'one simple trick'™ that I could use, why not use it. – Kevin Nowaczyk Aug 31 '17 at 0:27

A food processor works well. Just fill the bowl lightly so that you can watch what happens as you do quick pulses. Use the metal blade. Slow short pulses. It also helps if the meat is really cold but not frozen. Yum.

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    and it's often better to pull out any problematic large chunks that refuse to grind, and send them back in the next batch, rather than risk over-processing the rest of it – Joe Aug 31 '17 at 1:28
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    Even with cooked meat? – Catija Aug 31 '17 at 5:50
  • @Catija : I assume you're talking about the temperature aspect. If you cool the meat down, it's less likely to shred on you, making it more difficult to be cut down. I don't know that I'd freeze it, though. – Joe Aug 31 '17 at 15:01
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    @Joe The question specifically mentions that the meat is cooked but the instructions in the answer are what I would expect for raw meat. – Catija Aug 31 '17 at 15:08
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    I did this just an hour ago. I cooked the stew meat and let it cool. Running by it through the processor left me with a great texture. I think the fact that cooking the meat rendered out most of the fat, and letting it cool separated it from the meat. Less fat means less likely to turn into sausauge maybe. – Kevin Nowaczyk Sep 1 '17 at 17:11

When I read Bolognese, I was thinking of the slow cooked meat sauce. Is this the case? You have probably eaten and digested it by now. If not, I'm thinking what your recipe meant by 'mincing' the cooked meat, is considered breaking up the ground meat as it cooks. You want to keep all those flavors in the pan. I sometimes use a pastry cutter but I wouldn't recommend it. It puts your hands too close to the heat. I have seen the perfect tool. It looks like what you might use to brand an X on something. It looks like a potato masher, but the surface is beveled for better 'mincing'. As you cook more and more, tools become precious. The older, the better.

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  • The recipe calls for cubed beef and pork stew meat. After browning the meat, it is minced with a knife. I mince each cube as if it were a clove of garlic. After mincing, it is added to the tomato and milk sauce and slow cooked until very tender. I plan on cooking it tomorrow. – Kevin Nowaczyk Sep 1 '17 at 2:10

So, it's not using a machine, but here's a trick to consider if you don't have a food processor:

  • Let the meat cool down (possibly tent it and put it in the fridge)
  • Cut the meat into thin slices across the grain.
  • Crumble the slices into the pot. (should be easy if it's cold & cut across the grain. It should also break up more as it cooks down in the liquid)
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