Friday, January 24, 2014

Cevapcici Meatloaf, a Balkan-inspired Original

One night in mid-December, I had an urge for cevapcici, but I was pressed for time.  I didn't want the fuss of shaping and grilling a bunch of little sausages.  I had a brainstorm: Why not turn it into meatloaf?

So I mixed up a double recipe of my salt-free cevapcici. This time, I used a beef-turkey mix instead of lamb.  I also added an egg and a teaspoon of salt-free seasoning mix.

The result?  Instant slice-and-serve cevapcici!  It was an easy shortcut that had the characteristic taste and texture of cevapcici, especially with the traditional garnishes of ajvar (red pepper relish) and Greek yogurt.  It's hard to believe that no one else has thought of this before.

The cevapcici meatloaf made a perfect dinner with some tasty leftovers: two kinds of slaw (kale and cabbage) and my husband's vegi-millet soup.   For an even more traditional dinner, serve with pita or the Serbian flatbread known as lepinja.  (My salt-free version is here.)

The recipe follows.  Feel free to use your own favorite cevapcici mix.  I would recommend that you add an egg and liquid smoke, as I did, to provide some moisture and simulate that "just-grilled" flavor.

Dober tek!

Cevapcici Meatloaf (low sodium)

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
6 large cloves garlic, minced
4-6  T. parsley, minced
1  t. cayenne
1 T. smoked paprika
1 T. hot paprika
 1 t.  black pepper
4 T. seltzer water mixed with 1 t. liquid smoke
1 t. no sodium seasoning mix (or 1 t. salt)
1 egg

Mix all all ingredients together.  Form into 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves.  Line rectangular baking pan with foil or parchment paper.  Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, depending on size of loaves.  Slice and serve with ajvar and Greek yogurt.

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