South African Lamb Meatloaf (Bobotie) with Cilantro Chutney

I will admit it. I had my doubts. Besides the lamb, not much else sounded appetizing about this meatloaf. “You are really gonna make a meatloaf with all of that fruit and an egg?” Ick. I was soooo wrong. This may be, hands down, the best dish Jon has ever prepared. The texture of the lamb and almonds, combined with the flavor of the raisins, apples, curry and lemon is out-of-this-world good. It’s like eating an Indian dish with all of the intense flavors, wrapped neatly into a small little package. And I haven’t even mentioned the cilantro chutney! Wow. You really do have to try this. According to Jon, it’s easy to make, which is good because I will be requesting this often- perhaps next time I can convince him to throw some green olives into the mix.

South African Lamb Meatloaf

  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup raisins (1 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 lb ground lamb or beef (not lean)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl until very soft, about 15 minutes, then drain in a sieve set over a bowl, lightly pressing to remove excess milk. Reserve milk.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter baking dish.

Cook onions, apple, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions and apple are softened, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Add raisins, almonds, curry powder, and sugar and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then remove from heat. Lightly beat 1 egg in a large bowl, then add bread crumbs, lamb or beef, raisin mixture, lemon juice and zest, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper and blend with your hands until combined well; do not overmix. Spread meat mixture evenly in baking dish and bake 30 minutes.

While meatloaf bakes, whisk together remaining 2 eggs, reserved milk, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Pour off excess fat from meatloaf (still in baking dish). Pour egg mixture over meatloaf (much of egg will fill space that has formed around meatloaf), then return to oven and bake until custard is just set, about 15 minutes more.

Cilantro Chutney

  • 6 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped small hot green chile, such as serrano or Thai, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Purée all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Recommendations:
If you don’t like cilantro, you can leave it out of the above recipe, or you can try pairing this meatloaf with a mango chutney.
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