Q: "I've just read that boiling mince in water and draining in a colander before cooking removes a lot of fat from this cheap and versatile ingredient. Is this correct, or are the nutrients of the meat being compromised?"Stephanie
A: Nutritionist and chef Bronwen King responds:
"You are correct; boiling mince will remove a lot of the fat; it will also remove a lot of other things, including flavour, vitamins and minerals. In short, you will be left with cooked protein with the look, taste and texture of rubber.
As well as being a source of protein, meat is an important source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. The aim when selecting and cooking meat is to preserve and maximise intake of these vital nutrients while minimising intake of saturated fat. My advice is to purchase lean meat. While it is more expensive, you need less of it as less weight will be lost in cooking (from fat and water). You will also not need to boil or do anything else to it in an attempt to remove fat. Brown it (if you need to) without adding any more than a light spray or teaspoon or two of oil, then bulk out with vegetables and/or legumes to further dilute any fat and increase nutrient value. And if you do use fatty mince, it is better to dry fry in a non-stick pan and then drain off any fat, than to boil and risk losing nutrients and flavour."