Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Revolution Worth Joining!

After drooling over the new Jamie Oliver cookbook, Jamie's Food Revolution, for about a week, I broke down and bought a copy of my own. I really like Jamie's overall approach to food... for one thing, he's all about seasonal, local, and natural food and cooking. His recipes aren't overly fussy, and he really seems to practice what he preaches. This cookbook is a bit different from his others, though, because it's got a huge (maybe revolutionary?) message behind it. If you read much in the online food world, maybe you've already heard about it. Jamie's twittered about his project, and I've read about it on Tasting Table last week. His goal: by having people "pass on" recipes and cooking advice to friends, family, coworks, or other people they know, maybe we can get huge portions of our population into their kitchens to start cooking for themselves and their families.

The recipes in this book are based around the idea that everybody can cook. They're simple, with tons of beautiful photographs, but Jamie has mastered the idea of keeping flavor and some sophistication even in simple recipes. I strongly agree with Jamie's point of view, and I love the idea of sharing recipes and inspiring other people to cook. Both of my part time foodie jobs are related to this mentality-- assisting with classes at The Chopping Block and working as a chef instructor for Common Threads. Jamie is actually a member of the Chef Advisory Board for Common Threads! So, overall, I love this book not only for the yummy recipes and adorable Britishness, but I also really support the message Jamie is trying to spread. He's actually taping a TV show about the Food Revolution in America right now, which will be airing on ABC in early 2010. If you want to know more, you can check out this New York Times article.

Also, if you are my friends and family that have been inspired by my blog, know how much it means to me! Every time one of you mentions trying a recipe I posted, I get so excited. I guess I see this blog as my version of the food revolution :) If you ever want any more recipes, or if you want to come over to my house and cook together some time, just let me know! Ask my friend Christie... we made homemade pasta a couple weeks ago, and it was so fun!

And now, how about a recipe? This is the first recipe I have made from Jamie's Food Revolution, and it was awesome! Joe and I were blown away by this version of meatloaf. Take everything you've ever thought about meatloaf and throw it out the window, because this one is totally different and a fantastic departure. The original recipe was for ground beef, but as you know by now I don't eat beef, and the ground turkey in our fridge made a great substitution. The tomato-chickpea sauce is what really made this dish, and Joe and I talked about potentially just making the sauce and spooning it over rice sometime. We did skip the bacon, to be slightly healthier, but obviously it would be delicious with some pieces of bacon to top it off!

There was enough sauce to drown our meatloaf, so we cooked some of it in a separate container.

Pot-Roast Meatloaf
by Jamie Oliver, in Jamie's Food Revolution

2 medium onions
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
12 plain crackers, such as saltines
2 tsp dried oragano
2 heaped tsp dijon mustard
1 lb good quality ground beef or turkey
1 large egg
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 to 1 fresh red chili, to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 475. Peel and finely chop on of the onions. Place in a large frying pan on medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander, and fry, stirring every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes. When the onions are softened and lightly golden, put them into a large bowl to cool. Put the crackers into a plastic baggie or kitchen towel and smash until fine. Add the crackers to the bowl of onions with the oregano, mustard, and ground meat. Crack in the egg and add another good pinch of pepper and salt.

With clean hands, scrunch and mix the meat up well. Shape into an oval shape, rub with a little oil, and place the meatloaf into a dutch oven or baking dish. Put into the preheated oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, first peel the other onion and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel and slice the garlic, and finely dice the red chili. Place these three ingredients into a large pan on medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring often, until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Pick the rosemary leaves off the stalks and put them into a little bowl (next time I'll mince them first). Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix well (not much fat from Turkey, so I mixed the rosemary with olive oil). Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf, and lay the bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top. Put the meatloaf back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling and delicious.

This was great served with Liz's Twice Baked Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes, which you can read about here. They were really good, especially if you add some cheese like she recommends!


TKW said...

I just might have to re-visit my old childhood nemesis, meat loaf, and use this recipe...

Laura in Paris said...

I am glad you love this book, I have read a lot about it but have never seen it, and I tend to trust your judgement when I see how you cook!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love Jamie too, my favorite is the one where he cooked all through Italy. Your jobs sound like so much fun Erin!