Friday, November 28, 2014

a little odd

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I think it’s a little odd to me that I have never made meatloaf before. Because what is meatloaf if not an oversized meatball? And everybody knows that meatballs are my spirit food. So it makes me wonder why it took me until the tender age of 34 to make a meatloaf of my own. And what a meatloaf it is. Super straightforward with only one additional step- finely chopped mushrooms sautéed in a little bit of soy sauce. It adds a depth of salty flavor that is basically exactly what I want out of any dish made up of a mound of ground beef. It always makes me chuckle though because when I can’t refer to meatloaf without thinking of this completely amazing fake Guy Fieri menu- which if you haven’t read yet stop everything you’re doing and do so right now. I was literally reduced to tears reading it for the first time.

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But it’s funny because I do dig meatloaf because it’s nuthin’ fancy. It's definitely not the sexiest dish out there…but it doesn’t have to be. And it doesn’t have to pretend it’s anything that it’s not. All that's going on here is classic comfort food through and through. Simple to prepare, makes the house smell delicious on a Sunday afternoon and tastes all the better over a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes. Now I’m not gonna deny that this is a pretty hefty dish, but it’s the kind of classic chow that’s perfect for dishing up for your in-laws and mom for Sunday supper. In order to cut the richness of the meal, I also like to include a lightly dressed green salad and some roasted green beans, or asparagus. Nuthin’ fancy, but there’s nuthin’ wrong with that.

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1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
One yellow onion, grated
½ cup caramelized onions, finely chopped (optional)
7-8 mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. butter
1 ½ tbs. soy sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
2-3 tsp. Worcestershire
1-2 tbs. ketchup
1 ½ tsp. Dijon

For Glaze:

¼ cup brown sugar
Splash Worcestershire
1 tsp. Dijon
¾ cup ketchup

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Preheat oven to 375. Heat butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp rag and then chop, fairly finely. Add to pan and sauté for about five minutes. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce, stirring constantly and let cook one or two minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside; allow to cool for a few minutes. While the mushrooms first get going, cut onion into quarters and grate on the large-holed side of a box grater. If using caramelized onions (which I used only because I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up) place in the bowl of a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

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In a large bowl combine ground beef and ground pork, season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add onions, both raw and caramelized (if using), add parmesan, parsley, breadcrumbs and sautéed mushrooms. Then, drop in the egg, Worcestershire, ketchup and Dijon. Using clean hands, with your fingers spread claw-like, combine everything together loosely, taking care not to over work the meat. Lightly oil the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and gather the meat mixture together, wrangling it into a loaf-like shape. It can be a little free form and even though I have never tried the alternative, I think I much prefer this to using a bread loaf pan, because with this method you get a higher ratio of crusted outer layer to inner juicy meat layer. Dang, now I want to make another meatloaf.

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In a small, nonstick sauce pan combine brown sugar, ketchup, Dijon and Worcestershire. Heat over medium low heat until a bit bubbly and all sugar is dissolved. Spoon glaze over the top of your meatloaf and let it drizzle down the sides. Place the whole shebang into your preheated oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle reads 165.

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Serve with simple garlic mashed potatoes and a green vegetable or salad. This makes for great leftover sandwiches if you should happen to have any left. There were five of us eating dinner in this instance, so we had only the tiniest bit of leftovers.

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4-5 russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and chopped
2-3 whole cloves peeled garlic
2-3 tbs. butter
Scant ¼ cup half and half

Cut potatoes into large chunks and cover with cold water in a medium to large stock pot, depending on how many potatoes you’re using. Add garlic, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the lid and let crank, until potatoes are soft when pierced with a knife. Drain water, return potatoes and garlic to pan, add butter, half and half and two big pinches kosher salt. Crank a bit of crushed black pepper over the top and puree with an immersion blender until lump-free and creamy. Don’t have an immersion blender: mash 'em old school with a regular masher. Taste test and add more salt, butter or another splash half and half if needed. Serve immediately.

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Creative Commons License
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