Monday, January 26, 2009

Personal Lamb Meatloaves with Lemon Gravy

Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food (unless you're vegetarian). For all of us meat eaters, there's nothing like a good meatloaf to warm the belly on a cold winter night. To fancy this homey dish up a bit, I decided to use lamb meat instead of ground beef and fill it with an array of herbs and vegetables to add to the flavor and texture as well as make the meal slightly more healthy. Everyone loves personal portions, so using a muffin pan will allow for small circular loafs perfect for a solo serving. This way you'll be sure to have enough for each member of your party, but I warn you to make a few extra because with a dish like this people often want seconds.

Lamb Meatloaf Medallions
  • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. labna. You can also use yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems and use only leaves)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (remove stems and roughly chop needles)
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli with flowerettes cut in small pieces
  • 1 Tbs cumin seed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
Lemon Gravy
  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add cumin seed and allow to toast for a minute or so until slightly browned. Add carrots and cook for a couple of minutes, then add broccoli. Cook until slightly soft but not thoroughly. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix ground lamb and ground beef using your hands. Lamb is a lean meat, so adding a bit of beef will help the meatloaf to be moist. Add all ingredients including the carrots and broccoli and mix together with your hands.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Over low heat, mix in flour, and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until sauce thickens. When you first add milk and lemon sauce will appear curdled, but will cook out as sauce thickens. I based this recipe off this recipe which I found to be too salty, so I cut down the amount of butter and salt. So season to taste.
Tips on the gravy:
  • If gravy is too thin, add more flour and stir.
  • If gravy is too salty, add more milk and add flour to help thicken extra liquid
  • If you have a gluten allergy you can substitute corn starch for the flour.
Spoon the meatloaf mixture into your muffin tins creating a small well in the center with your finger. Add 1 Tbs of lemon Gravy into the well. This will help keep your meatloaf moist.

Bake @ 350 for 25-30 minutes. Lamb has a slightly red coloration when cooked, so your meatloaf when done may be slightly pink looking. Don't be alarmed by the color and overcook.

I served my meatloaf over a bed of beer braised fennel and red potato mash and drizzled with the lemon gravy. (Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!) This dish was savory and comforting, but slightly exotic with the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern spices and flavors.

Not long after I'd planned this for my menu, excited about what I thought was a very maverick form of serving meatloaf, Ira sent me a link to this Chicago Gluttons review of the Meatloaf Bakery in Lincoln Park.
"Seriously, I give this place 5 stars for even existing. A bakery full of meatloaf? A cupcake of... MEATLOAF?" -Emily S
Any time I think I am being original, I realize there is someone else doing it as well. I guess great minds think alike!

Notes on the recipe: I have used Labna which is a tart form of Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. You can easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream. Sumac has a lemony tart flavor, which when eating the meatloaf on its own, sets off the savory lamb flavors. The sumac is an additional flavoring which can be eliminated if you don't have it without compromising the general flavor of this dish.


amber said...

Andrea, STOP. My tastebuds are HATING me right now for moving out of your guestroom.

Andrea said...

Well, the room is open for a visit any time and I just went grocery shopping today...

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