Meat Loaf with Pumpkin

This is my version of the American meat loaf which I find very useful for family lunches as it is easy to do, popular and economical. You can try out all sorts of variations of herbs and spices in it, but the main thing with minced meat is that it should be really strongly flavoured, otherwise you can get that terrible grey, tasteless slab. The pumpkin goes very well with the loaf as a vegetable, and you can now get pumpkins in several greengrocers and markets. If you can’t find any, substitute marrow. If there is any loaf left over, it is good cold.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb minced beef (450 g)
  • 4–6 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 breakfast cup porridge oats thyme
  • powdered cumin
  • 1 large onion – chopped very finely
  • 2 eggs – whisked
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • salt, black pepper
  • 1½–2 lb pumpkin (700–900 g)

Method

For the Loaf

In a mixing bowl combine well with a wooden spoon the minced meat, about 1 dessertspoon thyme and the same of powdered cumin, the tomato ketchup, the porridge oats, the finely chopped onion, the whisked eggs, plenty of black pepper and salt. Pack the mixture into a loaf tin or any container which it fills completely, then turn it out again (you will probably need to give it a hard shake) into a greased roasting tin. Brush the loaf all over with tomato ketchcup and bake in the middle of the oven at Gas 3 (325Β°F/160Β°C) for 1–1Β½ hours until golden brown.

For the Pumpkin

Peel, take the seeds out and chop up the pumpkin. Melt about a tablespoon of olive oil and 1–2 oz butter (25–50 g) in a large frying pan. Put the pumpkin in and stir it in the fat. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and salt. Cook very gently, stirring often until the pumpkin is tender – about 20 minutes. Put into a dish and serve with the meat loaf.

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