Monday, November 1, 2010

Meatloaf To Die For

I went to a local butcher the other day and stocked up on beef. They make their own ground beef and it is wonderful. I wanted to make something a bit different with it and came up with this recipe. The more I pondered it the more it grew and ended up being one of the best meals I've ever made. I give you: mini meatloaves on cheesy garlic bread floating in a brown gravy topped with roasted garlic mashed red potatoes and finished with creamed spinach. This is some serious comfort food and takes meatloaf to a whole new level. For those of you that missed my recipes while I was gone....I am back!

I wanted to make this the most flavorful meatloaf ever so I decided to add some sausage to it. Here is the beginning lineup of ingredients.

There is nothing quite as good as a dark rich gravy and it is so simple to make. Just put a bit of oil in a heavy pot and chop up lots of vegetables. Heat the oil and throw the veggies in the pot.

Cook this for about 30 minutes over semi-high heat until they are very dark on the bottom. This is your gravy browning! Turn them over several times to brown all the vegetables.

Then sprinkle on about 4 tablespoons of flour and continue to cook while stirring.

Cook for a few minutes until the flour blends in.

Now add about 3 cups of a hearty red wine.

Stir it around and cook a few minutes more.

Then add about 4-5 cups of beef stock.

Add some salt and pepper. I also use several tablespoons of Vegita and some Maggi. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Bring to a boil and cook until you can see it thickening.

Strain the veggies out of the gravy.

Cook a bit longer if you want it thicker.

This makes a perfect jug of rich brown gravy that can be used on almost anything.

To start the meatloaves first cook about 6-8 slices of bacon.

After they cool, crumble them.

In a large bowl add 1 # ground beef, 1 # sausage (I used bulk breakfast sausage), the crumbled bacon and about a cup and a half of flavored stuffing mix. I use Pepperidge farm herb stuffing because it is much more flavorful than plain bread or bread crumbs.

Saute' a large onion and some diced green pepper (poblano) just until it begins to soften.

This is the important part. Meatloaf needs lots of seasoning or it will be bland. I added a lot of fresh ground black pepper, ground sage, thyme, fresh rosemary, salt and some garlic. Cook this for a few minutes stirring constantly until the spices become aromatic. Set it aside to cool.

I know I keep telling you this and sooner or later maybe everyone will try it.....always add a few diced anchovies to any beef dish you make. You will never taste the anchovies but they bring out the flavor in beef like nothing else.

Add the cooled onion/pepper mix and about 3/4 cup of diced fresh parsley. Then add 4 raw eggs and about 1/2 cup of whole milk.

Mix this thoroughly and fry a piece to taste it for flavor. Adjust the seasoning if you need to.

Several years ago I bought these food rings and I love them. You place a scoop of the meatloaf mixture in the ring and tamp it down.

Then using thin sliced bacon, I tightly wrapped each mini loaf. You must use thin bacon and pull it tight as you wrap them. As they bake the bacon shrinks and pulls the loaves together. Aren't they cute? This is a first for me. I might never make large meatloaves again! Bake these at 350 degrees until they reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

And since I had some bread I needed to use, I thought the meatloaves would be good served on cheesy garlic bread. I simply made some garlic butter, spread it on the bread slices, sprinkled them with grated Parmesan and broiled them.

I was going to just saute' the spinach in butter but sometimes it gets really bitter so I thought I would make it creamed spinach instead. If bechemal sauce scares you, don't let it. It is really simple to make. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour. Add some salt and pepper and fresh grated nutmeg. Whisk it for a minute or so.

Pour in about 4 cups of whole milk and keep whisking.

It will quickly begin to thicken.

Add about a cup of fresh Parmesan cheese and whisk until melted.

Add this to the spinach which has been sauteed in butter.


Here is a pic of one of the mini meatloaves right out of the oven. I thought I had one more pick of the finished dish but apparently I left it out. So go back to the beginning of this post if you want to see the final product! When everything is ready, ladle some gravy in the bottom of a flat soup bowl, then float a piece of the garlic toast on top of it. Sit a mini meatloaf on top of the toast and top that with a scoop of the mashed potatoes. Then top the potatoes with the creamed spinach. I roasted some carrots to serve alongside. Meatloaf prepared like this could be served to company. This dish got rave reviews from my entire gang.

* I roasted garlic earlier in the day and made red skin mashed potatoes with roasted garlic.

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