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Friday, January 18, 2013
Nero Wolfe Lamb Loaf
by Sheila Connolly
Here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, we write mysteries that include food, and often recipes. But we're not the first to do that: many years ago Rex Stout created the gourmand character Nero Wolfe, and wrote over sixty books and stories featuring him, starting in 1934. Wolfe lived for food, and solving crimes was a distraction from planning the next meal with his patient chef Fritz. In 1975, only a couple of years before Stout's demise, Penguin published The Nero Wolfe Cookbook; although all the foods outlined in the book did appear in a book, Stout acknowledged in a foreword that he hadn't written the recipes personally, but he had tested and approved them all.
I've had the cookbook nearly as long as it's been in print, and I've used a number of the recipes (which is why it lives with my cookbooks rather than with my mystery books). This is one recipe I've been making almost from the beginning, although of course I've tweaked it over time. It's good to have on hand if you get bored with the same old meatloaf.
Sometimes it's not easy to find ground lamb in your market (it kind of comes and goes where I live). You can ask a butcher, if you have one, to grind some for you, or you can grind your own from other pieces of lamb—assuming you have a meat grinder, which I do, inherited from my mother, which attaches to my KitchenAid stand mixer, although I don't recall seeing my mother grind meat, ever.
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 lb ground pork
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
If you want to make your own bread crumbs and have a food processor, reduce the bread to crumbs, then add the shallots and parsley and pulse a few times to chop them too (note: food processors weren't around when Nero Wolfe was cooking!).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lamb, pork, eggs, crumbs, parsley, shallots, salt, pepper, cheese, and wine. Use your hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly (handy household hint: if you don't like squishing about in raw meat, you can buy disposable latex gloves).
Shape into an oval loaf and place on a rack in a shallow baking pan. The rack is important: lamb can be fatty, so it needs a place to drain.
Brush the loaf with the melted butter. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
BURIED IN A BOG -- the first book in Sheila Connolly's new County Cork Mysteries, coming February 5th!