Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meatloaf--with Frosting!

Sometimes I think the only reason I make meatloaf
is for the sandwich . . . 

Making a meatloaf is an endeavor into which one should not enter lightly. It is much like making a cake and requires much measuring and chopping and adding and mixing. In other words, it has a lot of steps. And it will take time. Plan ahead!

Meatloaf is to Americans what sausages are to Europeans! America is all about BIG! A meatloaf, baked in a standard 9"x 5" pan is an over-the-hill huge, gigantic sausage! But, Europeans know how to season ground beef and pork.

For Europeans, the "art" of sausages is all about the spices and herbs. One seeks a perfect blend and balance so that no single flavor is overpowering. Nor do you want a meatloaf/sausage that is dry and dense. Like my Mother, I used to bake my meatloaf it in a glass loaf dish so it basted in its own fat and juices. But, no longer. I now cook it free-form and, unlike my Mother, I baste it with "frosting" during the entire baking process.

Now. About that frosting . . . When I lived in Michigan I had a friend who loved my meatloaf. She was having guests who had children and a "meatloaf contest" ensued with the children as the ultimate judges. Long story short, this recipe won because, as she said, "It had that frosting!" By frosting, she meant sauce. Since then, I, too, refer to it as "frosting." And, why not? As I've said, making a meatloaf is kind of like making a cake, so why not frost it? You may, of course, omit the frosting; but I've never had anyone who didn't like it.

I don't like a "crunchy" meatloaf nor do I appreciate one littered with orange confetti from carrots. Green bell peppers can be overpowering. I do no use them.

A food processor makes quick work of finely dicing the veggies. Just make sure it is a "fine dice" and not "mush."

To the "frosting," I add a bit of heat ...  to taste ... and then brush it all over the meatloaf ... If serving to children, you may want to omit the heat.

  Several times during the baking time ... I brush on more to create a kind of "crust." Fantastic!

  • 1 lb. ground chuck or sirloin
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup FRESH bread crumbs, not dried*
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped (about 4 oz.)
  • 1-2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (about 3 oz.)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup loosely packed, curly parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, slightly crushed in a mortar and pestle (don't omit)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons dried mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice or just a few shakes (don't omit)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish, blotted of liquid on a paper towel (don't omit)
  • A handful of grated Parmesan cheese, canned is fine (optional with reservations)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • cider vinegar
  • Hot sauce of your choice (I used to use A.1. Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce, but it is no longer available. A good sub is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce). Use your favorite ... or maybe just a bit of Tabasco Sauce to taste.

Place a few pieces of torn bread into the food processor and pulse until you have light, airy bread crumbs.( Freeze what you don't use.)

Chop the following in the food processor until a fine dice is achieved: onion, celery, parsley and garlic.

Place the ground chuck and pork into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, oatmeal, thyme, crushed caraway, ketchup, allspice, salt and pepper, dried mustard, horseradish and, if using, the cheese, and chopped vegetables. Using the flat end of a table knife, begin to incorporate ingredients being careful not to "squeeze" the mixture together. Remove a good teaspoon of the mixture and place on a plate. Microwave for about 15 seconds. Taste for seasonings and re-season as necessary.

Mix the egg yolks with the Worcestershire and add to meat mixture. Continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated. Place mixture in a large glass or tin loaf pan and carefully pat into shape. Unmold onto an aluminum-lined cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup ketchup, brown sugar, dried mustard and a bit of cider vinegar.  Taste. If too sweet (it will depend on your ketchup) add a bit of cider vinegar. Now add the hot sauce. You just want a bit of a "kick." Brush most over meatloaf reserving the rest to baste the loaf during cooking.

Bake in a 350 F degree oven for about one hour or just a bit more until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. During that time, baste several times. Remove. DO NOT CUT. Allow to rest at least 20 minutes.

Cold meatloaf slices thin and beautifully.

* Place several pieces of cheap white bread in a mini-processor/blender. Or a left-over roll or biscuit. Pulse lightly just until crumbly. If you do not have a mini processor, tear or cut or crumble into tiny pieces no larger than a kernel of corn.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I do so love meatloaf!