Mediterranean Meat Loaf
Growing up in the United States, my parents’ best friends were from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Our two families saw each other constantly. The children felt more like cousins than friends. In the mid-80’s, each of our families bought neighboring summer lake houses, where we spent almost every weekend. We basically lived in both houses, going back and forth freely. You can imagine mealtimes – a large communal buffet was laid out each day and we would dig in, barefoot, tanned, and happy.
This dish was almost always present because it’s so easy to prepare, feeds many people, and is very tasty. It is basically a meat loaf that uses bulgur to bind the meat. You will need fine bulgur, which can be found in Middle-Eastern or Turkish grocery stores. This is my Auntie’s (not my real Aunt, but felt like it) recipe for Urug of Mosul, or Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean Meat Loaf.
- 2 cups fine bulgur wheat
- 1/2 cup cream of wheat (extra extra fine bulgur)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 2 cups (300g) lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Lightly oil a baking tray (like a lasagna tray) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, rinse the fine bulgur wheat once or twice, then add the cream of wheat and 4 cups of lukewarm water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except for the topping) and mix well until thoroughly combined.
- Place the mixture in the oiled tray and press flat evenly.
- For the topping, beat the egg, then add the olive oil and tomato paste. Mix well and spread evenly over the meat and bulgur mixture. Bake about 45 minutes, until the top looks set and dry. Can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold. Delicious with a mayo hot sauce or ketchup. I often serve it with some sort of potato (fries, au gratin, mashed, baked sweet potato, etc.).