Tunisian meatloaf

Although I never let slip a chance to take a cheap pop at vegetarians (our horses, for example – how could anyone in their right mind just eat grass all day?), I’m not exactly a flesh-ripping carnivore myself. In fact, the better meat is disguised, the happier I am.

It’s complicated serving meat in this house. My husband and son, in true French male style, get inconsolably hysterical if they think it’s overcooked and I ‘come over queer’ if it’s underdone. Hugo, the labrador, is extremely conciliatory (or greedy?) and eats it either way.

This fragrent meatloaf ticks all the boxes; vegetables for me so that I forget I’m eating meat, and just enough meat for my carnivourous husband and son to satisfy their Neanderthal instincts.

Ingredients (serves six to eight)

2 onions

3 carrots

1 aubergine

2 garlic cloves

3 medium tomatoes

Olive oil

200g pre-cooked chickpeas

300g minced beef or lamb

3 eggs

1 tbsp Lee and Perrins sauce



Bay leaf

50ml tomato ketchup

seasoning to taste (seasalt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper)

Cut the aubergine into slices and leave to ‘sweat’ out the moisture with seasalt. Brown the vegetables (including the aubergine) in olive oil in a large frying pan cooking over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add the rosemary and seasoning and set aside. Combine the meat, beaten eggs, Lee and Perrins sauce and ketchup in another bowl. Roughly blend the vegetable mixture, chickpeas and fresh parsely until it forms a lumpy paste (ie not blended too much) and add it to the meat mixture. Spoon the combined mixture into a loaf  tin and cook for about an hour and a half in a medium oven (180°C). Leave to sit for ten minutes before slicing.

May be served hot with couscous cooked with mint, sultanas and peas and a hot tomato sauce, or cold with crisp green salad and gherkins.

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