My weekends are a time for relaxation. If I can cook one big dish that will provide two dinners and a lunch — such as my Rolled & Roasted Meatloaf that follows — then I’m happy. This tasty treat is also sophisticated enough to serve to friends who might normally think meatloaf is passe.
So where did meatloaf originate? One theory is that it was first concocted around the fifth century in Europe — a Mediterranean dish of finely diced meat scraps combined with fruits, nuts and seasonings. It was a great way to stretch meat and use up leftovers.
Americans embraced meatloaf with zeal. It is considered one of the country’s essential comfort foods. The first recorded American meatloaf recipe is from the late 1870s. Finely chopped cold cooked beef was combined with salt, pepper, onion, slices of milk-soaked bread and egg. However, back then the meatloaf wasn’t served at dinner. It was a breakfast staple!
The profile of the meatloaf improved when the French added lemon rind, fresh herbs and spices to minced pork and veal to create more of a terrine. And the Italian polpettone — which often includes hard-boiled eggs and cheese — is indeed a moreish masterpiece.
All of which — for me — makes meatloaf on the menu very acceptable.
ROLLED & ROASTED MEATLOAF
I used roasted red capsicums from a jar for the filling and Fwhitlock.co.nz Smokehouse Tomato Chutney Sauce for brushing.
1kg lean minced beef
3 teaspoons dried Italian herbs, divided
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 egg + 2 tablespoons water
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 medium roasted red capsicums
24 pimento stuffed green olives
1/4 cup smokehouse tomato chutney sauce
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
Combine the minced beef in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons of the Italian dried herbs, seasonings, garlic, the egg beaten together with the water and the breadcrumbs. Mix well.
Place on a sheet of baking paper and pat out into a 27cm square about 1.5cm thick.
Drain the capsicums and olives and pat dry. Slice the capsicums into thin strips. Halve the olives crosswise. Place evenly over the meat. Sprinkle with the remaining dried herbs.
Use the baking paper to help roll up the mixture as you would for a sponge roll. Place seam-side down in the roasting pan. Brush well with the smokehouse sauce.
Roast for 1 hour. Stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6-8.
QUICK THAI RED CURRY EGGS
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 packet Wattie’s Thai Red Curry with Chickpea & Pumpkin
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup cream or coconut cream
Peel the eggs and halve crosswise.
Place the Thai red curry in a medium saucepan. Add the peas and cook gently until hot. Add the eggs and cream and warm through.
Great served on rice or noodles. Serves 2.
WASABI PRAWN TACOS WITH KIWIFRUIT SALSA
400g cooked prawns
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste
1-2 teaspoons wasabi paste
Salsa: 1 shallot, diced
2 large green kiwifruit, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Extras: 8 crisp taco shells
3 cups micro greens or sprouts or finely shredded lettuce
cherry tomatoes to garnish
Place the prawns in a bowl. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and wasabi in a bowl. Fold into the prawns. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl.
Heat the taco shells according to the packet instructions. Half fill with the micro greens and top with the prawns and the salsa. Garnish with the cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.