Jan, Miriam, and Eilene all wanted latke for the last day of Hanukkah. I made both regular potato latke and less traditional sweet potato latke. Miriam also wanted roasted Brussels sprouts. Latke and sprouts are both side dishs, so I decided I wanted to make a stuffed meatloaf as my main dish, a variation on an Ashkenazi klops.
While kolps, in German, means meatball, it is frequently made as a meatloaf. Stuffing a meatloaf with eggs is a traditional Eastern European way of making plain meatloaf just a bit more special. Instead of the more common beef, I decided that lamb and latke seemed like go-togethers.
Meatloaf is frequently topped with a sweet and sour sauce, which is usually a tomato based. I thought that apricots would make a better sauce. Jan does not like her meatloaf topped with a sweet sticky sauce, so I made a sauce to serve on the side to be added as the diners wished.
Karl’s Lamb Klops with Apricot Sauce for Hanukkah
1 Tbs. cumin seeds
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. lemon zest
¼ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup hot water
2 lb. ground lamb
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 eggs, soft boiled and peeled
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, raw, lightly scrambled
½ cup apricots, diced
1 cup Marsala wine
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. coriander, ground
¼ tsp. cayenne
pinch Kosher salt
1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet for 1-2 minutes, over a medium high heat, until fragrant.
2. Grind the seeds to a powder and put it into an small bowl.
3. Add the thyme, pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, and ¼ tsp. Kosher salt to the bowl and mix the spices together.
4. Dissolve the baking soda in ¼ cup of hot water.
Tip: The hot water insures an even distribution of the baking soda. It also helps to warm the fat in the meat a bit making the meat easier to mix.
Note: Kosher cooking does not mix meat and milk. If you are not “keeping Kosher,” you may replace this water with milk and the sautéing oil with butter.
5. Put the lamb in a mixing bowl and mix in the spices, Worcestershire sauce , and ¼ cup of hot water mixture.
Tip: The baking soda breaks down the proteins and changes the Ph of the meat, this prevents the proteins from linking up which would force the moisture out of the meat. However, do not use too much soda or it will make the meat taste “soapy.” If you use this technique, you must also not let the meat sit too long before cooking it—meaning overnight.
6. Let the meat marinate for 1-2 hours.
Tip: You can let it marinate on the counter if you marinate the meat for only one hour. Tor longer times, refrigerate and remove it to the counter for the last hour to warm up to room temperature.
7. Soft boil and peel the three eggs.
Tip: For perfect soft boiled eggs every time—put a small rack in a pot (I use a steamer tray that came with my rice steamer that just fits my pot and raises the eggs about half an inch off the bottom). Add half an inch of water to the pot and place the eggs on the rack (completely out of the water). With the lid off of the pot, bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Steam the eggs for EXACTLY seven minutes (for large eggs). Briefly run cold water over the eggs and serve.
Note: Refrigerate the steamed eggs for 30 minutes, to make them easy to peel.
8. Add the oil to a sauté pan over a medium high heat. Sauté the onions with the remaining ¼ tsp. of salt until translucent, about three minutes.
Tip: Some might be tempted to skip this step, by adding the raw onions directly into the meat. This step insures that the onions are completely cooked by the time the meatloaf is done.
9. Put the meat, onions, bread crumbs, and raw eggs into a large mixing bowl.
10. Use your (clean) hands to mix the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly.
11. Pam a large loaf pan and spread the half of the meatloaf mixture over the bottom of the pan.
12. Lay the three eggs, end to end along center of the pan.
13. Spread the remaining meat mixture around and over the eggs. Smooth and seal the meat with a rubber spatula.
Tip: Try not to “squish” the eggs. If you use too much pressure when you are smoothing the meat over them, you could end up with flat eggs in the center of your loaf.
Note: You may just put the pan in the oven and bake the loaf, like my mother did. However that is not what I do. Jan loves the crusty bits of browned meat on the outside of the meatloaf, so I bake the loaf free of the pan that maximizes the meats exposure to the dry oven heat.
14. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
15. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Tip: This give the meat time to firm up.
16. Line a large baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
Tip: This aids in clean up, but you could just Pam the pan.
17. Run a knife around the edges of the loaf pan to free the meat from the sides of the pan.
18. Flip the loaf pan over and rap it onto the baking pan.
Tip: With luck the meatloaf will fall right out of the loaf pan without tearing. If it does tear, pinch the edges together and smooth with a spatula.
Note: When you bake the meatloaf this way it will have a rich browned crust on five sides, instead of just one.
19. Put the meatloaf in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Tip: Rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure that the loaf cooks evenly.
20. While the meat loaf is cooking put the apricots, Marsala wine, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, and salt into a small pot.
21. Simmer the sauce for 20-30 minutes, over a low heat, until the apricots are very soft.
22. Use a hand-blender to break up some of the apricots.
Tip: You may continue cooking, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
Note: The more common practice would be to top the loaf with the sauce during the last 15 minutes of baking. You may do this if you prefer.
23. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and cover it with a sheet of foil. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes.
24. Transfer the loaf to a serving platter, cut into ½-¾ inch slices and serve the sauce on the side.
Tip: You may garnish the loaf with some of the sauce.