Our best ground beef recipes to get you through the latest lockdown include classic comforting dishes such as ragu alla Bolognese and lasagne from Northern Italy, our Cambodian inspired curried beef sausage rolls, a Tex-Mex chilli con carne and nachos, and my recipes for the Russian dumplings pelmeni and Russian piroshki, savoury minced meat-filled hand pies.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this pandemic, it’s to always keep minced meat in the freezer. You’ll always find ground beef and pork mince in our fridge, and occasionally I’ll pop a pack of minced chicken meat in there too. Chicken, pork and beef mince are versatile, easy to cook with, and affordable.
One of the most stressful things about this pandemic has been supermarket shopping – shopping our beloved markets simply hasn’t been possible for much of the pandemic with Covid spreading through markets, periodically closing them for weeks at a time.
We learnt very early in the pandemic that one of the best ways to keep our anxiety at bay were what we called quarantine cooking dishes – dishes that can be stretched out over several meals to prolong the period during supermarket shops.
Many of our favourite quarantine cooking dishes are made with minced beef and ground pork, such as ragu Bolognese, lasagna and chilli con carne. They make perfect pandemic meals as they keep so well and just taste better the next day.
Before I tell you about our best ground beef recipes – I’ll share our favourite chicken and pork mince recipes in another post – I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve made any of our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo so we can keep creating food stories and recipes.
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Best Ground Beef Recipes to Get You Through the Latest Lockdown
Traditional Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe
This ragu alla Bolognese recipe is based on the traditional recipe for the classic meat sauce from Bologna in Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy, and it’s one of our best ground beef recipes as the sauce can be used to make both tagliatelle alla Bolognese and lasagne alla Bolognese, below. If you follow Terence’s exacting ingredient list and cooking directions, you’ll make a perfect ragù alla Bolognese, which is rich and moreish, just as it’s made in its birthplace. You’ll need 250g of beef mince for Terence’s version – along with pork mince and veal mince. In Bologna, they use tagliatelle, but of course you can use spaghetti.
Classic Lasagne alla Bolognese Recipe
Terence’s classic lasagne alla Bolognese recipe is another of our best minced beef recipes. Rich and comforting, this traditional lasagne Bolognese begins with that great Bolognese ragù recipe, above. The sauce is layered between flat pasta sheets and besciamella, Italy’s béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Once again, this is the style of lasagne made in Bologna, which means thinner sheets of pasta, a sparing use of besciamella, no mozzarella, and a flavour profile more savoury than sweet. Our recipe will easily feed a family or provide a few very comforting lockdown meals.
Homemade Curried Beef Sausage Rolls Recipe
Our homemade curried beef sausage rolls recipe is another of our best ground beef recipes, flavouring minced beef with the traditional Cambodian curry paste called kroeung that’s used in Cambodia’s Saraman curry to makes a spicy beef sausage roll. If you’re not familiar with Cambodia’s Saraman curry, it is the richest and most complex of Cambodian curries and is a cousin to the Thai Massaman curry. Another pandemic cooking tip: along with minced meat, I recommend always keeping some puff pastry in the freezer too. If you love a good sausage roll you are going to love our spicy beef sausage rolls.
Tex-Mex Chilli con Carne Recipe
Like the traditional ragù Bolognese above, it’s a 4-5 hour process to make Terence’s Tex-Mex style chilli con carne, but you’ll get several meals out of it, starting with a big old bowl of chilli, making this another of our best ground beef recipes. Over the years Terence has made this chili con carne with beef mince, beef chunks, a combination of beef and pork mince, and just ground pork, but our favourite version includes a mix of ground beef and pork mince. It’s a hearty chili and while it takes some time to make it doesn’t require a lot of work. We tend to eat it alone or with a salad the first night, and then over the next day and night we’ll repurpose it in all kinds of ways, starting with quesadillas. However, you could make the chilli the centrepiece of a Tex-Mex or Mexican feast, and serve it with this authentic Mexican tortilla soup, tacos al pastor and char-grilled corn on the cob or grilled corn salad.
Our Ultimate Nacho Recipe
When Terence makes his chilli con carne he always ensures he makes a big batch so we have enough leftover so I can make my ultimate nachos. If you’re feeding a family and you don’t, you can always add more ground beef or minced pork or a tin of kidney beans, or all of the above. But don’t forget the beauty of nachos is all the extras you can pile on top and serve on the side, including this authentic guacamole and easy red tomato salsa, along with jalapenos, spring onions, black olives, and generous dollops of sour cream. Wash it down with classic margaritas and micheladas.
Traditional Russian Pelmeni Recipe
My family’s traditional Russian pelmeni recipe is another of our best ground beef recipes. This one makes my baboushka’s dumplings stuffed with savoury pork and beef mince that are boiled and served with sour cream and fresh aromatic dill and it is rustic home-cooked Russian comfort food at its best. When my grandparents were still alive my baba would make big batches of these Russian-Ukrainian dumplings for family meals, especially for Russian Christmas, Easter, and Sunday lunches and dinners. I made a batch of pelmeni the other night and I’m making a batch of vareniki with mashed potato and caramelised onion tonight. We’ll eat them fried tomorrow.
Russian Piroshki Recipe
This Russian piroshki recipe makes fantastic savoury minced meat-filled pastries or hand pies and this is another of our best ground beef recipes. They’re typically eaten as a snack or as a side with borscht. My grandmother often served piroshki as one of an array of Russian dishes at family gatherings and then she’d send me home with the leftovers wrapped up in tea towels to keep them warm. While we love deep-fried piroshki, these can also be baked if you prefer and like most minced meat dishes, they taste even better the next day.
Please do let us know if you make any of our best ground beef recipes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.