This year my auntie has given over the role of Christmas dinner maker to us, the children. Technically we aren’t children any longer, but are young adults ready to face the big world together. My auntie is very traditional which means Christmas dinners include the usuals, meatloaf, Turkey, ham a green salad (you know what I’m talking about). Don’t get me wrong the usuals are great and I love them, some of my best friends are usuals. I think as the new generation, us children should shake it up a bit. Not completely, keep with the classics, but give them a new fresh spin of life.
Besides for the fact that I am one of the only people who can cook and will most probably land up doing it all myself, my auntie (how can I say it nicely) knows exactly what she wants and how she wants it done. I just realised that I am no different to her. I have no doubt that even though she has handed the task of Christmas dinner over to us young adults, she will get involved and give her opinion on certain issues. That is why us, young adults, have decided to keep what we are going to make a secret. We’ve learned from experience that a large family is generally filled with lots of large opinions. The task she has handed over to us is going to be a challenge one that will only make us stronger.
We created a Whatsapp group to throw some ideas around. Some said sushi, others said that we should make steak rolls. Sure these are delicious things, but they are so not sit down Christmas dinner kinds of meals. At first I thought we should go about the meal in a traditional manner, but everyone decided it would be best to go in the opposite direction. So I threw in an idea, what if we made kebabs with a traditional Christmas twist. Everyone seemed to like the idea and so I went on to come up with this amazing idea which I am pretty chuffed with. What about Meat loaf koftas? To make a normal meat loaf mixture and then simply shape it into kofta shapes. I personally thought that it was and still is a brilliant idea! It’s the best of both worlds; classic with a new fresh twist.
I’ve never really liked meat loaf. It’s so thick and dry and rich. What I did was took a traditional meat loaf recipe with the addition of a few simple ingredients and turned it into koftas. For those of you who don’t know what a kofta is, it is a traditional Moroccan kebab come sausage like cooked meat. It’s basically meatballs on a skewer and traditional cooked over hot coals or in a pan. I went for a healthier and cleaner alternative by baking them in the oven. They are light and crisp with a crumbly succulent texture. The addition of raisins and mixed spice to the mixture, balances out the saltiness from the Parmesan cheese and rosemary. These are perfect served over a bed of my tomato bulgar wheat salad. The salad has a sweet and tart flavour from the juicy tomatoes. The addition of turmeric turns it into a bright yellow bulgar wheat salad.
Meat loaf koftas + tomato bulgar salad
Makes 12 Koftas + salad serves 8-10 people
Meat loaf koftas:
- 4 slices stale white bread
- ½ cup full cream milk
- 1kg/ 35 ounces lean minced beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp chopped raisins or sultanas
- 2 tbs parmesan cheese
- 1 tbs sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
Tomato bulgar salad:
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbs turmeric powder
- 1 whole tomato, chopped finely
- 2 tbs tomato puree
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 200g bulgar wheat
- 500ml water
Meat loaf koftas:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a baking dish with a little oil.
In a bowl, combine the white bread and milk. Leave the bread to soak the milk for 5 minutes. After that time, cut off the crusts (discard them) and chop the white bread into small pieces.
Place all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together until well combined. Prepare 12 skewers.
Using two hands shape a piece of the mixture, which is about the size of your palm, across each skewer. Squeeze tight so that they don’t fall apart. Continue until you have used up all of the mixture. Place the koftas onto your prepared baking dish and into the oven.
Leave to cook for about 30-40 minutes. Turn them regularly in the oven so that they crisp up. After that time they will be golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and serve with lemon.
Tomato bulgar salad:
In a frying pan, melt some butter in a little olive oil over a medium to low heat. Add your chopped onions to the pan along with the salt. Stir until the onion becomes translucent. Add your turmeric, and chopped tomato to the pan and continue stirring for a further two minutes. Add the tomato puree and brown sugar. Mix and then leave to cook for 2 minutes.
Add your bulgar wheat into the pan. Stir until the bulgar wheat absorbs all of the juices from the pan. Pour your water into the pan and bring to a light simmer.
Reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Once it has cooked, fluff it up with a fork. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serving suggestion: serve the koftas over a bed of the tomato bulgar salad with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of rosemary.