Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lamb Meatloaf with Cumin, Pine Nuts, and Two Onions

As the first photo shows, there is nothing more mundane looking than a meatloaf, especially when it is not covered by what I would call a catsup bandage.

Meatloaf is a mid-week meal, a slab of hamburger-in- hiding with the bun hidden inside in the white bread crumbs added by cooks desperate to keep the loaf moist. Meatloaf is a Protein Delivery System for teenage boys and husbands who will eat anything as long as it is covered with barbecue sauce and comes with potatoes on the side.

Most American meatloaf recipes call for ground beef that may or may not be mixed with other ground meats. All recipes require an egg, a little milk, and a starch, be it bread, rolled oats, or crumbled cornflakes. A small onion,diced and untreated, is also tossed in in the hopes that it will not still taste raw after 45 minutes at 350 degrees. And some cooks cover the loaf with strips of thin bacon.

My Lamb Meatloaf would be ruined by lava flows of catsup dripping off the sides, but it goes beautifully with the Roast Pepper and Tomato Soup of my previous post, a soup that is not watery, but stew-like.

My meatloaf is spiced with cumin and a little Kefta mix and 7 spice powder, and while I gave the nod to starch by adding Panko crumbs, its main filler is the two onions-one white and one red- that I use as a moist filler.

*(Those who cannot find Kefta or 7 Spice could add a pinch of cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cardomom.)

The treatment of the white and Bermuda onions is key. They must be grated, and this is best done with the shredder disc of the food processor. This produces a mound of very moist onion bits that you will steam to softness in a saute pan that has olive oil in it. Saute over medium heat after adding some cumin and sea salt to taste. Stir to prevent sticking and do not brown the onions. You want them soft and tasty, not caramelized. Keep tasting and when the onions are soft and cooked through, they are ready.

1 pound ground lamb

2 garlic cloves, crushed in a press

Sea Salt

Olive oil

1 red onion medium sized and 1 medium white onion

1/3 cup pine nuts (Inexpensive if you can find them at Trader Joe's)

1/2 cup Panko crumbs

1 big egg

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk or cream

Sauteed onion-all of it- as described previously.

Cumin to taste for onions, and more added to the meat mixture- perhaps 1/2 tsp

Spices as described above.

Throw everything into a bowl and mix well. Then spoon mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Serves 4, perhaps. Dress with Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce/stew.

Note the side dish- Peeled and dice purple mini potatoes tossed with olive oil and sea salt, studded with garlic slivers and roasted.

This dish is also good cold.

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