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Ah, now here’s a gem. A good friend of mine (the best, actually) was kind enough to share this recipe with me from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cookbook.

At first I thought the recipe looked like a bit of a challenge – but really, it’s just very long. However, it’s pretty simple to make and turned out rather well indeed.

I did find that the meatloaf itself was a tiny bit dry, so I’d recommend cooking it for less than the suggested time. I also thought that instead of a tomato-based sauce, something creamy and ‘mushroomy’ might be nice too, so play around with it.

JAMIE OLIVER’S POT-ROAST MEATLOAF

2 medium onions
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 level tsp of ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
12 cream crackers
2 tsp dried oregano
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
500 g mince
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic
½ – 1 fresh chilli
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x 400 g tin chickpeas, drained
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon
1 lemon

To make the meatloaf:

Preheat the oven to full whack. Peel and finely chop one of the onions. Place in a large frying pan on medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Fry and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden, then put into a large bowl to cool. Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash up until fine, breaking any big bits with your hands. Add to the bowl of cooled onions with the oregano, mustard and minced beef. Crack in the egg and add another good pinch of salt and pepper. Scrunch and mix up well. Move the meat mixture to a board, then pat and mould it into a large, rugby-ball shape. Rub it with a little oil. You can either cook it straight away or put it on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed. Place the meatloaf in a casserole-type pan or baking dish, put it into the preheated over and turn down the temperature immediately to 200 C/gas 6. Bake for 15-30 mins.

For the sauce:

Peel the other onion and chop into 1 cm pieces. Peels and slice the garlic. Finely slice the red chilli. Place the onion, garlic and chilli in a large pan on a medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chickpeas, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Season if needed.

To finish off:

Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and put them into a little bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix up well. Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter over the rosemary leaves. Put the pan back into the over for 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling and delicious. Serve with a mixed leaf salad and some wedges of lemon for squeezing over.

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