Be A Lamb
"Be a lamb, will you, and take Cora out for her walk?" I asked My Beloved on the first rainy night in months. That last walk of the evening is usually my responsibility, and it only takes a few minutes, but I was weaseling out. I had gotten spoiled by the past two months of moonlit, starry nights.
He complied. He's sweet that way. That's why it's important to me to return his generosity with meals I think he will enjoy. Like Lamb Loaf.
I had this idea, not an original one, I'm sure, when I took a package of ground lamb out of the freezer. I thought about lamb burgers but we had those fairly recently and, besides, I was in the mood for something different. "What else can one do with ground lamb?" I wondered and the idea came in a flash. Why not make a meat loaf from lamb?
I changed up my usual meatloaf recipe a bit, to highlight the lamb's flavor. Garlic. Mushrooms. Onions. Oh, yes. I also thought about and discarded the notion of serving this meatloaf with catsup - not a happy thought with lamb. Instead, I made a quick tzatziki as counterpoint to the rich meat, and that was a good idea; the mildly astringent sauce complemented very well.
Next time your honeylambsweetiepiedarling does you a favor, lamb loaf may well be the perfect reward.
Honeylambsweetiepiedarling Lamb Loaf
3/4 pound ground lamb
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
6-8 crimini mushrooms, sautéed lightly
2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into little bits
1 egg mixed with a generous splash of milk
In a wide frying pan, sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat in a little olive oil until their liquid has been released and reabsorbed, then add the onions and garlic just to soften. Set aside to cool a bit.
In a large bowl, crumble the ground lamb and the bread, mixing with your hand to distribute evenly. Add the vegetables and mix again. Add the egg mixture and mix again.
Gently pack the meat mixture into a loaf pan (I used an 8"x8" Corning ware casserole) and bake at 400 degrees F for an hour. Cut into slices and serve with tzatziki sauce on the side.
You can drain the plain Greek yogurt and squeeze the extra moisture out of the cucumber, or you can just do as I did and use them without the preliminaries. Still makes a tasty little sauce.
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
1/2 cup plain Green yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill weed (I used dried)
Mix all three ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. Let stand for perhaps 30 minutes to meld flavors.