Loafing around

[Recipe 1] BEEF and PUMPKIN MEATLOAF transforms into
[Recipe 2] OVEN-BAKED BURGERS with THE LOT
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Daggy dinner alert! Meatloaf!
We secretly love meatloaf. It’s right up there with tuna casserole in the retro dinner department, but honestly it’s really good. Leftover meatloaf is soooo tasty too, sliced thinly in sandwiches, with chunky relish and rocket (arugula). It’s great for picnics and lunch on the go. My boys just love it.
Make double the beef and pumpkin mixture and you can conjure up some fab oven-baked burgers with the lot* to have later in the week. These are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and they’re roasted so they’re less fatty than fried burgers.
The burger recipe makes 6 patties. You can freeze the two unused ones, uncooked. I love having spare burgers in the freezer for the kids, for those nights when the husband and I are craving a big fat steak.
I know the ingredients list looks a bit long and spooky, but it is so easy to put together, I promise. Everything is basically thrown into a big bowl and mooshed up.
The mixture is full of hidden pumpkin and grated carrot. You can trick it up and experiment with it too. Over the years I’ve replaced the 2 cups of grated pumpkin with cooked lentils, tiny cauliflower florets, grated zucchini (courgette)… you name it!
You can of course use the mixture to make two meatloaves instead, or indeed two batches of burgers. Both freeze really well uncooked.
*Is ‘burger with the lot’ an Australian expression? I’m not sure. In old-fashioned burger places here, it refers to a hamburger containing all the available fillings; which can often mean it will include pineapple, a fried egg and sliced beetroot!

Beef and pumpkin meatloaf[Recipe 1] Beef and pumpkin meatloaf

1 large red (purple/Spanish) onion, very finely chopped
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1 kilo (2 lb) minced (ground) beef
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) pork
2 large carrots, finely grated
200g (7 oz) peeled butternut pumpkin (butternut squash), grated (equal to 1½ cups)
1½ cups dry bread crumbs
1½ cups chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve 
GLAZE:
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
With a hand-held whisk, lightly beat the eggs, salt, pepper, milk, Dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce until combined.
Add to the minced beef and pork in a large bowl, along with the carrot, pumpkin, breadcrumbs, parsley and the cooked onion and garlic. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
Reserve half the mixture (1¼ kilos or 4 tightly-packed cups) for the oven-baked burgers with the lot.
Press remaining mixture into a lightly-oiled loaf pan, and turn out onto a tray lined with baking paper. You can pat the mixture into a free-form shape if you prefer, but I find using a loaf tin as a mold works beautifully.
Make the glaze by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl. Brush all over the meatloaf.
Bake for 60–70 minutes, until lovely and crisp on the outside and cooked through.
Allow to rest for ten minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve with steamed vegetables or salad, and tomato chutney.
One meatloaf yields 8 thick slices.

  • Cooked beef and pumpkin meatloaf can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days. Uncooked meatloaf can be frozen, whole (in a loaf tin to retain its’ shape), for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and cook per instructions. Glaze just before cooking.

The ultimate burger. With hidden veggies.

[Recipe 2] Oven-baked burgers with the lot

4 soft wholemeal (wholewheat) buns, warmed in oven, toasted, or lightly char-grilled
♦ 1¼ kilos (4 tightly-packed cups) reserved beef and pumpkin meatloaf mixture
Olive oil, for brushing (or olive oil spray)
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve
CHOOSE YOUR EXTRAS:
Lettuce
Sliced cheese
Sliced tomato
Whole cornichons or sliced pickles
Sliced avocado
Thinly sliced red (purple/Spanish) onion or caramelised red onion jam

Preheat oven to 220°C (425ºF).
Shape reserved beef and pumpkin meatloaf mixture into 6 patties. Freeze two for later!
Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush or spray patties lightly with olive oil.
Roast patties for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Layer burgers and your chosen extras on each bun base. Pop the tops on and serve.
Makes 4 (plus two extra patties for freezing!)

  • Uncooked patties can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days, or they can be frozen, with baking paper between the layers, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and bake per instructions.