What's the beef, pork and chicken? Quality recipes on the cheap




Italian-style meatballs (above)

Organic lean beef mince is £10 for 1.5kg. Using a variation of a Polpo recipe, you’ll get about 40 meatballs from that by squishing it together with 3 eggs, some breadcrumbs, some chopped parsley, garlic and chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Roll them into large golf-ball sized rounds, bake for 10 minutes in the oven then add to packet passata (tomato sauce) and heat for a further 10 minutes. With potatoes or pasta, serves 10. Or make them larger and flatter and serve in a bun. Both freeze well.


One bird, two meals

Buy a decent free-range or organic chicken from the supermarket (a medium organic chicken costs about £9) and roast it while you’ve got the oven on for something else. When it cools a little, strip every single bit of meat off, not forgetting the undercarriage. Use half in a risotto with frozen peas or chestnut mushrooms and you’ll get a big tasty dish that serves 4-6. Use the other half for a chicken pie with shop-bought puff pastry on top and bulked out with frozen sweetcorn and/or mushrooms, or a few chunks of ham.


Slow-cooked belly

If you work, spend 5 minutes in the morning putting a 1kg slab of pork belly (currently around £4 for 700g) into a slow cooker with a chicken stock cube, 500ml water, about 4 tbsp of dark soy sauce, some garlic cloves, a few slices of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and 2 star anise. Turn on low and leave for 6 hours or so. Cook some rice, strain the sauce into a pan and boil for 5 minutes to thicken while keeping meat warm. This will serve 4.

Prices are from Sainsbury’s