On the table for twenty bucks
Chris Nemeth is the winner of our latest reader competition, which called for recipes for a meal for 4 for $20. All 162 recipes are in the reader recipe section — take a look, there are a lot of delicious ideas. Here are four we have tested and photographed.
Winning recipe: Braised beef cheek, wild mushroom and caramelised onion pie, served with kumara mash
Chris says: I decided to create a new dish for this competition, inspired by the rule that it needs to feed 4 for under $20. This is a great example of how secondary cuts of meat can produce an amazing result. This dish is all about texture and flavour, and could easily feed four adults. You could serve it as a rustic, deep dish pie, or present it as a more gourmet “deconstructed” version. Each item was costed, right down to the coriander seeds used (even the 25g of flour) and everything came in under budget by 5 cents -— a total of $19.95. You just need to shop smartly. The biggest “win” in this dish was, without a doubt, the 100g of dried mixed wild mushrooms bought at the Asian supermarket for $4.70. Wild mushrooms are hugely expensive, but these, when reconstituted, were simply fantastic in this dish. The end result was awesome, if I do say so myself, and it will certainly be made again (for guests this time), in the near future.
Bite judges say: The flavour in this dish smacks you in mouth — in a really good way — and the beef cheeks are meltingly tender. Caramelising the onions and adding them separately is a trick we will be stealing for other dishes too. Thanks Chris, this is one impressive $20 dinner for four.
3 more finalists too good not to share
Braised brisket bolognaise with pappardelle pasta
Recipe by Michael Tutty
Michael says: The meat simply falls apart while the pasta absorbs the rich tomato sauce.
Judges say: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, this also works well in a slow cooker. Brown the onion and garlic and meat first, place them in the slow cooker with remaining ingredients plus ½ cup water and cook on low for at least 6 hours.
Grandma and Grandpa Joe’s cabbage rolls
Recipe by Marianne Pettigrew
Marianne says: This recipe is special because it reminds me of my Czech heritage. My parents often made this growing up — a peasant recipe that fills you up.
Judges say: We love cabbage rolls and we love sauerkraut, so Marianne’s recipe works for us. We have adapted the recipe to serve fewer people. We also separated our cabbage leaves and blanched them separately rather than boiling a whole cabbage. Serve a couple of cabbage rolls per person with some warm, crusty bread and you’ve got a very filling, very well priced
Recipe by Demi Nielson
Demi says: I love this recipe. It’s so tasty, quick and easy. Everyone I’ve made this for raves about it and wants the recipe. I originally found it in my old school’s cookbook (The Essence of Dio) but have made it so much it’s practically a family recipe now.
Judges say: What a surprise, this had just the right amount of creamy and lots of zing from the citrus. Smart enough for dinner parties and quick and easy enough to serve on weeknights.