Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best Meatloaf and Gravy

I love cookbooks. I love the weight of the books in my hands when I pick up a stack and place them on my dining room table to peruse. I love scanning the index and then flipping the pages to find a new recipe. Normally, after ten minutes or so there are several pieces of scrap paper marking recipes I'd like to make. Out of necessity, I must pick just one - sometimes two - to make for that lunch or dinner or dessert. But those scrap pieces remain in place, calling me back over the course of several days or weeks to create the recipes they hold in place.

So I was thrilled when our friends, Brent + Jillian, gave us The Farm by Ian Knauer. It is wonderfully categorized by season, which is perfect for cooking while foods are in season. After reading through several recipes, I decided I'd try my hand at making meatloaf, a dish which I have sometimes enjoyed but never made. Meatloaf is one of those dishes that has a reputation of being dry and overcooked (probably a result of it being an elementary school lunch menu favorite), but at it's best, meatloaf represents comfort food at its best. Pair it with mashed potatoes and green beans and you've got a winter dish you really can't beat.

The Best Meatloaf
adapted from The Farm

Serves 4-6

Preheat oven 375º

In a large bowl, combine:
3/4 cub fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoon whole milk

Let sit about 10 minutes so that the breadcrumbs soaked up all of the milk.

In a food processor, process until finely diced:
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot
1 medium white onion

In a medium skillet, heat:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Add the diced veggies. Cover and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, add to the food processor:
3 strips of thick-cut bacon (uncooked)
2 prunes
5-7 dried cherries

Process until finely diced.

Add to bowl with breadcrumbs the processed bacon/dried fruit, the sautéd veggies, and:
1 1/4 pounds Angus ground beef*
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Use hands to mix together ingredients. Once evenly mixed, transfer to a standard glass bread pan.

*Meatloaf is usually made with equal parts ground veal, beef, and pork, so if you'd like to use a mix, go for it! I just don't eat veal and the grocery store was out of ground pork (and since this was Audrey's maiden voyage to the grocery store, I decided one stop was enough of an adventure).

Place in oven and let bake for 60-65 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155º. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

While meatloaf is resting, prepare gravy.

Beef Gravy
In a small saucepan, heat:
1 tablespoon bacon grease (for a healthier alternative, use olive oil or butter)

Once warm, whisk in:
1 tablespoon flour

After flour is incorporated, slowly whisk in beef broth. Use as much as needed for desired thickness; I used a little less than a cup.

Finally, whisk in:
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Serve with Bacon + Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and green beans.

Eat up!

No comments:

Post a Comment