In Australian cookery, a rissole is a fairly plain meatball or patty, fried or barbecued. It is typically served without a sauce, as part of a 'meat and three veg' dinner, or at a barbecue with salad. Condiments such as tomato sauce or gravy may be served alongside, but the rissole is too large to be easily cooked in a sauce, and too spherical to be put on a sandwich or burger.
The rissole is considered to be a fairly ordinary food, tasty and comforting, but definitely not exotic or fancy. The Australian movie The Castle has a running joke about the Dad being appreciative of the meals cooked by his wife. It is now traditional to paraphrase this when presented with any tasty, well-cooked, but plain dinner, regardless of whether or not it's actually rissoles:
Appreciative diner: "What d'you call this, love?"
Cook: "Rissoles, darl."
Appreciative diner: "Yeah but it's the way you do them" or "woohoo! How's this, kids!" or "why would you go out to a restaurant when this keeps coming up night after night?"
For added variety, if you cook something new and exotic that nobody present has ever seen before, and somebody asks, "What's this?", you can safely answer "rissoles, darl."
Rissole is also slang for an RSL Club, as in "Me an' Davo are garn to the Rissole for a beer this arvo."
Nemosyn's recipe for rissoles
- 500g minced meat of your choice, but for tradition's sake let's use beef (Sal Kerrigan in The Castle buys silverside and crushes the meat herself, I just buy it from the butcher)
- 1 onion, finely diced by hand or in a food processor (I don't eat onion so I leave this out)
- 1 handful breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- a spoonful of fresh or dried herbs e.g. parsley, oregano, thyme, finely chopped if fresh
- if you are the parent of a fussy child you can also add a cup of grated carrot, zucchini, celery, etc.
- another handful of breadcrumbs
- Put the extra handful of breadcrumbs onto a large plate.
- Put all the other ingredients in a bowl, and using your hands squish it all together nicely.
- Scoop out handfuls of the meat mixture, roll into golfball sized blobs.
- Roll the rissoles in the extra breadcrumbs.
- Fry the rissoles on a barbecue or in a fry pan. You may flatten them slightly with the back of your egg flip if you wish, but they should remain fairly round.
Serve with mash, green beans and gravy; or with tomato sauce, canned beetroot and a green salad.