The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Meatloaf’

Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf

In Meat, Recipes on November 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Dinner is served

(Serves 4 to 6. Preparation time – 30 minutes; cooking time – 75 minutes)


For the Meatloaf:

2 tbsps. minced garlic
1 cup finely diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 medium sized onion)
2 tbsps. of unsalted butter
½ cup of chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped sage
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
½ cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground veal
1 lb. ground pork
1/3 cup of sour cream
3 eggs, whisked
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 12 oz. bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
Freshly ground pepper

For the Gravy:

Two 28 oz. packs (6 cups liquid) of Swanson Beef Cooking Stock (no sodium or less sodium variety).
1 lb. sliced cremini (also called Baby Bella) mushrooms.
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup flour (Wondra, preferably, because it dissolves quickly)

Preparation for the Meatloaf:

1.    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.    Lightly sauté garlic, celery and onion in butter until softened.
3.    Add the meat to a large mixing bowl.
4.    Add the sautéed vegetables, chopped fresh herbs and breadcrumbs, mix well by hand.
5.    Add the sour cream, eggs, Worcestershire and Chili Sauce and black pepper, mix well by hand.
6.    Grease a 3 lb. loaf pan and transfer the meat loaf mixture to the loaf pan, patting it down to remove any air pockets.
7.    Cook in oven for 75 minutes until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

In the meantime make the gravy:

1.    In a 3 qt. sauce pot bring the 6 cups of beef stock to a boil, and reduce by ½ from to 3 cups.
2.    Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.
3.    Add the dried thyme and wine to the mushrooms and reduce the wine to about ½.
4.    Transfer the mushrooms and wine to the reduced beef stock.
5.    Bring stock to a boil and slowly whisk in the Wondra or flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

When the meatloaf is ready, remove it from the pan and set aside, keeping warm. Pour the pan juices into a fat separator (there may be as much as 12 oz.) and let the fat separate. Add the de-fatted pan juices and any solids to the gravy.

We served this with mashed potatoes and LeSueur Baby Peas, real comfort food for a chilly night.

A great wine to make this meal even more special is a fruity and intense Amarone Della Valpolicella!

Please refer to: Meatloaf for Dinner! Again?

Meatloaf for Dinner! Again?

In General Articles on November 4, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Meatloaf was a staple meal growing up. We were subjected to it at least 2 or 3 times a month in my family. I guess it was cheap and easy to make. However, it was always dry and tasteless. To compensate for that, prior to being baked, it was smothered in ketchup and draped with bacon. This didn’t help or do much to enhance the flavor or even make the meatloaf palatable. As a result, I avoided meatloaf for many years.

My rediscovery began in a diner, when a friend of mine ordered it and I laughed at him while pantomiming sticking my finger down my throat and making false gagging sounds. He just knowingly smiled, as he enjoyed his dinner and I behaved like a jerk. Before he devoured it entirely, along with fluffy mashed potatoes and obviously canned string beans, he offered me a morsel smothered in mushroom gravy. Eureka! This was unlike any meatloaf I had ever tasted previously.

A few years later another friend, a New York City Firefighter, introduced me to his special firehouse meatloaf, which was made with applesauce. Amazingly, it was not dried out and it was delicious. Thus began my hunt for how to make the perfect meatloaf.

The first thing I discovered was that ground beef, the classic ingredient in all of the meatloaf I had growing up, was too dry and its dryness was compounded by the addition of too many breadcrumbs, which are needed to bind it together. So step number one, reduce the quantity of breadcrumbs and supplement the ground beef with other ground meats that retain their moisture upon being baked; ground veal and ground pork together fit the bill.

Next for even more moisture I did use ketchup (later replaced by Chili Sauce), but rather than pouring it over the top, where it basically dried up in the oven, I added it to the mixture. This was supplemented by a bit of sour cream and the overall flavor was enhanced by the addition of Worcestershire Sauce. Finally, I figured that some fresh chopped herbs, particularly sage and thyme would certainly help in the flavor department as well.

The end result is: Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf. For the ultimate comfort food meal, serve it with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable of your choice. Wouldn’t mother be surprised?

%d bloggers like this: