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How Do You Define Comfort Food?

Meatloaf Valensbrae

#1 Comfort Food: Meatloaf. Hands Down.

If you combine the literary efforts of Wikipedia, Merriam Webster Dictionary and the insight of Anneli Rufus who dedicated an entire article to comfort food: ‘How comfort food works like Prozac’ you come up with the following definition:

Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, and may be characterized by its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation. The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture.

Definitely meatloaf fits the bill.

Meatloaf is a full meal combining ground meat with other ingredients and then baked in a loaf pan. The ground meat can be beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison and poultry or a combination of two or three different types.

Believe it or not, meatloaf was mentioned in the Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century. According to Wikipedia, over 30 countries have some type of Meatloaf recipe.
In North America, meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times.

During the 1920s, meatloaf was a way to stretch the food budget for families by using an inexpensive type of meat and leftovers. Along with spices, it was popular to add cereal grains, bread or saltines which produced a lower-fat dish with great binding and consistency.

In a 2007 Good Housekeeping poll, meatloaf was deemed to be the seventh-favorite dish of Americans. And not just because it was yummy, but fun to make, squishing all the ingredients between your fingers.

Typical Canadian families, eat meatloaf with some type of sauce (ketchup or BBQ), relish or chutney. Many recipes call for a pasta or tomato sauce or even mushroom soup to be poured on top to form a crust during baking.

Meatloaf is normally served warm as a main course, but can also be found sliced in sandwiches. [The best!]

Pretty well every family has their own meatloaf recipe, so the Valensbrae family looked for different and chose a ground lamb recipe with a Turkish flair!

Healthy Turkish Meatloaf

Resource: BBCGoodFood.com

Serves 6

Pair With Australian Shiraz

  • Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large eggplant cut into slices lengthways then finely diced
  • 1C cooked rice
  • 3T tomato purée
  • 1t vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1/4C pack dill, chopped, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 2t each ground cinnamon and allspice
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 8oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pack of three peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 1T cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • handful chopped mint

Line a loaf tin with lightly oiled baking parchment.

Put the onion and eggplant in a large bowl with the rice, tomato purée, bouillon, dill, spices and lamb. Mix and squash together with your hands then add the egg and mix again. Tip the can of tomatoes into the base of the loaf tin then pack the mince mixture on top and press down lightly to compact it. Cover the tin with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hr 40 mins, taking off the foil for the last 15 mins.

Once the meatloaf has been cooking for 1 hr, tip the peppers, zucchini and red onion into a roasting tin and toss with the oil. Roast in the oven with the meatloaf for 40 mins until the vegetables are tender and a little charred.

Take the meatloaf and roasted veg from the oven, leave the loaf to settle for 5 mins, then tip out onto a platter or board, remove the baking parchment and scatter with dill if using. Toss the roasted veg with the vinegar, garlic and mint and serve them with the meat loaf

Valensbrae Sheep Farm – Pasture-raised Ontario lamb. Farm gate sales of lamb sold as individual cuts or by the whole or half lamb. In addition to Dorset & Shetland sheep, Valensbrae Farm has pot-bellied pigs, Red Sexlinks layers, honey bees and two llamas Ben & Jerry.

A family-run operation led by Ted Stark.

1527 Regional Road 97 | Puslinch | 905-659-7253 | [email protected]