It’s meatloaf night!
MEATLOAF AND RATATOUILLE
Whenever I have this meal, I just think of my grandad because he is the king of the meatloaf. For him, meatloaf isn’t meatloaf unless it has boiled eggs in it. I love this too, not only because it adds some colour but it also makes the meatloaf a bit lighter. I love a good hearty dinner but even for me a big slab of meat can be too much. For that reason, I served this with ratatouille but it can easily be served veg and potatoes if you prefer.
It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients but it is really easy to make. The most labour intensive part is chopping the vegetables.
Ingredients (4 people):
250g mince beef
250g pork mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 Jacob’s cream crackers, crushed
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 heaped tsp dijon mustard
12 strips of smoked streaky bacon, 6 strips diced and 6 strips left as they are
3 large egg
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 peppers (any mixture of colours), chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 courgette, chopped into 1 cm pieces
1/2 aubergine, chopped into 1 cm pieces
2 sticks of celery, chopped into 1 cm pieces
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
For the meatloaf:
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees celsius.
- Fry the onion in some olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion powder, garlic salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft. This will take about 6-7 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds or so. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
- Add the crushed crackers to the cooled onion along with the parsley, sage, mustard, tomato puree, beef mince, pork mince and diced bacon.
- Add 1 beaten egg and with clean hands, mix all the ingredients in the bowl together.
- Boil the remaining two eggs. I am not a good enough cook to try and work out if it is even possible for the eggs to be runny when cutting into the meatloaf so instead I just boil the eggs for 5 minutes. Once cooked, remove the shell.
- I usually just mould the meatloaf myself but you can easily use a greased loaf tin if you prefer. Place a layer of meatloaf mixture on a board. Then place the eggs on top, one at each end of the rectangular mixture about 1 inch from the edge. Then add the remaining meatloaf mixture making sure to place around the eggs, filling in the gaps, then round the sides and on top. Mould with your hands until the eggs are evenly covered and the meatloaf is in a smooth rectangular shape.
- Then it’s time to wrap the meatloaf in the bacon. The bacon will keep the moisture in and lock in the flavour. Once shaped, put the meatloaf at the far end on the board. Place the strips of bacon vertically along the horizontal length of the meatloaf. The strips of bacon should be tightly locked together and ever so slightly overlapping. Then roll the meatloaf on top of the bacon. Keep rolling around until you reach the end of the bacon. Then transfer the meatloaf to a baking tray. Don’t worry if the pieces of bacon don’t meet, just make sure the gap is placed on the bottom of the baking tray if there is one.
- Place in the oven and cook for 35 – 40 minutes. If the bacon looks like it is getting too crispy or might burn then cover the baking tray with some aluminium foil.
For the ratatouille:
- Fry the onion in some oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the garlic, chilli and paprika and fry for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until soft and lightly golden.
- Add the peppers, courgettes, aubergine and celery and cook for around 10 – 12 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the tomato puree and cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Then add the worchestshire sauce, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and the chopped rosemary. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the tomato sauce has thickened. Taste and season if necessary.
- Spoon the ratatouille on to the plate.
- Slice the meatloaf using a serrated bread knife and place two slices on top of the ratatouille. I try to give everyone at least one slice with a piece of egg to each person. It’s only fair to share the best bit!