Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lovin' from the Oven...


I like to eat.

For anyone who has seen me lately, this is clearly obvious but when I say it, I mean that there is a genuine interest in flavors and aromas - not simply feeding my face. Oddly enough, one of the things that I have a fascination with is meatloaf. Yep, good old meatloaf. A humble dish to be sure, but one that is filled with memories of times gone by, both good and bad. A dish that will perpetually remind you of home no matter where you make it or eat it. Of course it won't be like the one that you got at home but the basic ingredients are always the same. It's the feeling that you get when you tuck in that really counts. I have gone to great lengths to create a meatloaf recipe that is a combination of things I get here and the flavors that I remember from home. It has been extensively tested and the result has been heavenly. I suggest you try it...

My Version:


600 grams of ground beef (not pork and beef mixed!)
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Mustard powder
1/2 tsp Hickory Salt
1 tbs Sweet Paprika
3 Shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
75 grams crumbled smoked bacon
Fresh nutmeg
100 grams Breadcrumbs (may be more or less, use your judgement)


Take a rectangular baking dish (15x30) and grease it up . I use Butaris, a butterfat used for frying.
Preheat your oven to 200' C. Don't cheat on this- it will come back to bite you later.
Make a strong cup of instant beef broth and set it aside. You'll use this to baste the beast later.

In a large (I'm not kidding here) non-reactive bowl add all ingredients and proceed to mix the hell out of this. The trick is to make sure that your mass is as homogeneous as possible, otherwise you'll get spots that taste like one ingredient more than the other. Form that bad boy into a oblong, not too thick (10 cm max) loaf and put it in the dish.


Pop this in the oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes (good things take time!) Every 15 minutes, baste the loaf with the broth. This is the secret to keeping your meatloaf from drying out and becoming a doorstop. It also provides you with good drippings which is a base for your gravy.

Measure the internal temp with a thermometer and when it reaches 70' C, it's done! Take it out and cover the dish with foil for 30 minutes, allowing it to rest. In the mean time, make gravy from the drippings -there is no shame in making a packaged gravy but if you have the time and means, I suggest using demi-glace which will lift the flavor of the gravy to the heavens.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Anything else is just wrong.

When you take that first bite, I promise that you too will be transported back to a better time.



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