Note: For a less wordy version of this post, with pics that actually fit the page, you may prefer to look here. When I copied the HTML, it did a funky thing with the photographs spilling off the page and I can't seem to fix it. Never mind, I've warned you many times about my lack of skill in the programming department. That's one of the many reasons I keep a Programmer of my own and feed him well. ;)
Sourdough bread is made using a method of bacterial fermentation which long predates the advent of the faster growing bakers yeast. This ancient fermentation process, which typically takes 8-12 hours, renders the grain more digestible and nutritious, as well as imparting a unique tangy flavour and making both wheat and rye more tolerable to those that gluten sensitive.
When The Programmer heard me thinking out loud (i.e. talking to the cat) about my options for a dinner which included mince, he mentioned that his mum used to make something that involved a hollowed out sourdough loaf. It wasn't hard to figure out how to make it work. BTW, I think that 'mince' is a typical kiwi term for any type of minced ('ground') meat, which tends to be an economical way to buy beef, lamb or pork, as they use the nasty bits to make it. 'Mince on toast' was a staple kid-friendly lunch or dinner when I was growing up.
- One sourdough loaf - round, oval, square shaped, it doesn't matter.
- 500g mince meat (you could use beef, pork, lamb, or even use a few cans of beans to make a vege version)
- 4 large onions
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 beef stock cube (I use Massel)
- About 1/4 cup of water
- Can of tomatoes
- Cheese to sprinkle
2. While that is cooking, cut the loaf in half length-ways and hollow out the inside part. The leftover pile of squishy stiff from the middle can be used later to make breadcrumbs or stuffing, or you can mix it with the meat before you re-stuff the loaves.
4. Once all the mince is browned, stuff the meaty mix back into the loaf halves, packing it down quite firmly. You don't want the mix in there to be too moist, so it's good to use a spoon with drainage holes.. (there must be a technical word for that utensil - you know, the spoon with holes in it?).
5.Place on some sort of oven dish or tray and cook on a moderate heat for about 30 minutes, or until the outside of the loaf is just beginning to harden. I made two versions, one with tomatoes and cheese on the top ('his') and one without ('hers').
6. Serve it however you wish. I ate half a boat with brocolli on the side (+ glass of merlot, of course), and The Programmer ate a whole one with extra cheese then lazed back with a satisfied expression, probably experiencing some fond childhood memories at the cellular level. The mix of flavours and textures - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with the juices from the meat soaking into the bread - is unexpectedly delicious.