Buy the Shin of your Teeth

May 23, 2013 by

Let’s start with a disclaimer – this is not normally a scrimping scroogalista blog but: every now and again I surprise myself with a discovery, so why not pass it on?

The first was that it was sooo much cheaper to buy a whole chicken and bone it out yourself. Fellow blogger Adrian Shanahan followed it up and calculated that it was 350% more expensive to buy the breasts alone.

My latest eureka discovery is that buying a great lump of shin beef and either cutting it up yourself and/or mincing it, is much cheaper than buying mince or stewing beef. I buy a kilo for around €8. I mince half and I cut the rest into stewing sized pieces. I calculated that with half the meat you could make a big pot of chilli which would easily feed 5-6 and with the remainder minced, a lasagne or whatever you normally use mince for.

To buy 500g of stewing beef alone is normally in or around €7 and the same again for mince.

You do need a good knife and a mincer. I got the mincer attachment free with my kitchen Aid in a deal one Christmas. However, I’m pretty sure you can buy the old fashioned ones that screw onto the kitchen table from Amazon.

To make the chilli use half the meat approximately 500g diced into bite sized chunks.

Chilli with Cocoa and Lime


500g shin beef
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin of kidney beans 
2 large onions diced
2 sticks of celery chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1large heaped tablespoon of chilli powder
1 or 2 small red chillies diced
2 teaspoons of dark cocoa powder (try get it with high cocoa content)
Zest of a lime and half of it juiced
A good pinch of salt

Sweat the onions, garlic and celery until really soft. Add in the cumin seed, chilli powder and the chillies.  Cook for a few minutes. Then add the beef and brown. Add tomatoes, beans and two tin fulls of water and put in the oven for 3 hours on a very low heat. Just about 30 minutes before the end of cooking add in the cocoa powder and the lime zest and juice.

It improves unbelievably if you put it in the fridge for a day or two.

I’m not sure why but chilli with meat in pieces is so much nicer than with mince. Both the cocoa powder and the lime add a certain “Je ne sais quoi”.

Tags: Money saving  Chilli beef dish  Chilli  Shin beef  Chilli with lime  Chilli with cocoa

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