Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Kofta-style meatloaf with tahini sauce

Happy New Year from Southern Spoon! Excited to share another year of cooking with you.


Comfort food with a twist is just what today's grey, rainy Los Angeles day called for. This is a great cold-weather recipe adapted from the incredible Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook. Koftas, like meatballs, are tasty bites of ground lamb and beef, spiced just right and often served with pita bread, salad, and a tahini or yogurt based sauce. But, like meatballs, koftas take a while to prepare, rolling them individually, and then searing them in batches or baking them in an oven.

My sister and I made Ottolenghi's recipe as called, into small meatballs, for dinner one night when I was staying with her a couple of weeks ago. She's a very busy gal, and after we spent an enjoyable evening together making them, she mentioned that if she made them again she would just form the mixture into a meatloaf so that it could bake all at once. Genius! I experimented with this method and it worked out perfectly-- thanks for the idea, sister. The recipe makes a big meatloaf, enough to serve a small crowd.
Lamb & beef kofta meatloaf give a traditional American dinner Mediterranean flavor. 
Meatloaf is difficult to photograph and make look pretty, but I promise it's delicious. It's also gluten-free and paleo-friendly, without any breadcrumbs or fillers. Serve it alongside steamed greens (swiss chard, broccoli) and roasted veggies (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, beets), and you have a substantial meal that will feed a family and probably yield some leftovers for the next day. Enjoy!

Kofta-syle meatloaf with tahini sauce
serves 6-8

Meatloaf
14 oz (400 g) ground lamb
14 oz (400 g) ground beef
1 yellow or white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (divided use)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Tahini sauce
1/2 cup tahini (hulled or unhulled)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of freshly ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 325F / 163C. Place all of the meatloaf ingredients (using only 4 tablespoons of the pine nuts) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, and place the loaf into a baking dish with raised edges (such as a pyrex dish), or, if you have one, a large cast iron skillet.

Bake meatloaf at 325F / 163C for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, checking for doneness by seeing if the meat is cooked through in the centre (it should be no longer pink and should register 160F / 71 C on an instant read thermometer).

Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together. Set aside.

In the last 10 minutes of cooking the meatloaf, pour 1/2 of the tahini sauce evenly over the top of the meatloaf, and return to the oven to cook. When done, remove the meatloaf from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons pine nuts and, if desired, a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Serve straight from the cast iron skillet or dish, alongside the remaining tahini sauce.

*Storage tip: extra meatloaf and sauce will keep, covered in the fridge, for 2-3 days. 

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