City Living

Meatloaf: What I Made for Dinner, April 3, 2008

I decided to make dinner last night, keeping in mind that Bill and I are going to a fancy-pants restaurant this evening. It's part of a tradition. We were married on the 4th of the month, so every 4th, we hit an Italian place — sometimes a low-key red-sauce joint and sometimes a high-end white-tablecloth spot, in memory of our two-week of honeymoon on which we ate our way across Italy.

So I went for an American staple: Meatloaf.

I "re-imagined" a recipe I found in the Silver Palate cookbook called Street Market Meatloaf. It's taken from some famous Venice, Calif., eatery. I re-imagined it because I wanted to use what I had in the house!

Full recipe follows:

1 pounds of ground round
1/2 Cut up Italian chicken sausage
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground/grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, white if you have it
1/2 cup of half-and-half
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce
6 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup of catsup
1/2 to 1 cup of crushed saltines or Italian bread crumbs, depending upon how firm you like your meatloaf

Saute slowly all the chopped vegetables and garlic in 4 tablespoons of butter, which should take 20 minutes. Cool them off in the fridge for a bit.

Mix cold sauteed vegetables into the ground round and sausage.

Beat the eggs, half and half, Tabasco — all the wet stuff.

Add all the spice stuff to the wet stuff.

Put everything you have into the meat/vegetable mixture, including bread crumbs.

Make a loaf shape and back for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Thanks for the recipe. That sounds like a meatloaf I'd actually eat; it doesn't sound like it'd get dried out.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 11:30 AM | 4-4-2008

That's very close to the meatloaf I make, which I adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats, and which I make often enough that I have the entire recipe memorized:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 6 oz. of bread crumbs with half-teaspoon each dried thyme, black pepper and cayenne pepper, one teaspoon chili powder and one and a half teaspoons salt. In food processor, pulse one small onion, one small carrot, one clove of garlic and one-half of a red or green bell pepper until finely minced but not quite a puree. Add to bowl along with 36 ounces (2.25 pounds) of ground chuck or whatever kind of ground meat strikes your fancy. Add one egg and combine with your hands, trying not to compact the mixture too much. (Trust me, take off your rings first. You haven't lived until you've tried to get beef fat out of the crosshatching on a white gold wedding ring.) Pack into a loaf shape on a rimmed baking sheet. Don't bake it in a loaf pan, because the grease won't have anywhere to go if you do. Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven until the center hits 155 degrees. Because I've started using a digital thermometer instead of cooking by time, I have no idea how long that is. An hour, maybe?

If you like, make a glaze of 1/2 cup ketchup, some Tabasco, some honey, some Worcestershire and a tablespoon of ground cumin and brush it onto the meatloaf after it's been in the oven for about 10 minutes. Or if like me, you find yourself craving the meatloaf of your youth (Furrs Cafeteria, y'all, Texas represent!), you can make a creole sauce by sweating an onion and the other half of the bell pepper in some olive oil with a half-teaspoon of salt over medium-low heat until limp, then adding a can of crushed tomatoes, a half-teaspoon of thyme and a big pinch of sugar and simmering uncovered until reduced by half.

Sent by Stewart | 2:03 PM | 4-4-2008