So, it's fall. Ok. I addressed that the other day so you know how I feel about it. I am trying to cook my way out of this malaise using cold-weather favorites. At Hugh's request this week, we had Meatloaf Monday.
We also had Martini Monday, but that's another story.
[Aside: Look at my pretty new knife! It made all the chopping so much FUN. That boy knows just what makes my heart go pitter pat... cutlery, apparently. Thank you!]
Knowing we would be at the supermarket Monday evening, I perused epicurious for meatloaf recipes Monday morning. When you search "meatloaf," this one from February's Gourmet is the second 'loaf listed, and the reviews are mostly favorable. Though I was hesitant about the prunes, it seemed this was the meatloaf for me. I started when we got home from the store and the groceries were put away around 6:30, so we ate quite late, but we were entertained! T^2 was around and... there were martinis. With garlic stuffed olives. Mm hmm.
ANYWAY. I didn't take very good pictures of this meatloaf, because frankly, it's hard to photograph a lump of meat. A delicious, slightly sweet and tangy, pleasantly chunky lump of meat it may be, but photogenic it is not.
Some notes: It is a slightly crumbly loaf. That may be because I didn't chop anything too finely, even the prunes. (The original recipe says to chop them in a food processor, but I just chopped finely with a knife.) It was MUCH easier to slice the next day out of the fridge, and might I suggest that you save it for meatloaf sandwiches? Because WOW. And might I also suggest that you wait a few days on the sandwich, because my next post is going to be about the most delicious sandwich bread ever? Because YOWZA.
The final note is about loaves and is prompted by some confusion in the epicurious reviews. Some meatloaves (meatloafs?) are cooked in an actual loaf pan, but this one is formed into a loaf shape and then baked in a rectangular baking dish. This ups the surface area to the max, so you get that delicious crunchy crust on more of the meatloaf. It stands to reason that the ends are the best part.
adapted from Epicurious
feeds 4-6 or 2-4 with leftovers for sandwiches
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
(Stale bread + food processor = fresh bread crumbs. Make them when you have stale bread, keep them in the freezer)splash of milk3-4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped3 garlic cloves, minced1 celery rib, chopped1 carrot, chopped2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce1 tablespoon cider vinegar1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper1/2 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped1 1/4 ground beefscant 1 lb ground pork (not lean)2 eggshandful finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350.
Add milk to breadcrumbs in a large bowl, just enough to get them wet, and set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high, and add the chopped bacon. Saute until cooked through (or crispy, if you like), then add bacon to breadcrumbs in bowl. Drain all but a tablespoon of bacon renderings from pan, then add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook 5 minutes more or until carrots are tender. Turn off the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce vineger, allspice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Stir to combine, then add to breadcrumbs and bacon.
Add finely chopped prunes, beef, pork and chopped parsley to bowl and mix it all together with your hands until combined. Form it into an oval loaf approximately 9 x 5 in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 155 in the center of the loaf. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. And don't be scared of the liquid in the pan.
Don't be afraid to make this if you are only cooking for two, because the leftovers make amazing meatloaf sandwiches.