Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meatloaf: Not just (or even) a pretty picture.

It might taste good, but meatloaf is a tough photograph for an amateur like me. Last night's dinner was a perfect case in point. Still slogging through the Month of New Recipes, where for every meal at home we have to try something new. While I actually kind of enjoy it, I'm ready for some old favorites. About now it seems like January has gone on for about 90 days. I can only imagine how GWB feels. He's thinking about getting the hell out of Dodge and dumping the trainwreck that is America he drove off the tracks on his successor in less than a year, and I'll bet to him this last 11 months will seem like the about three years. For the rest of us, I can only hope it seems like 30 days.

But enough digression. The point is a photo, and meatloaf's tendency to look like something you shoveled out of your front yard. This recipe from the latest Gourmet really tasted good with all it's unusual ingredients....bacon, prunes, cider vinegar, allspice...and both w and I were suitably impressed, and satisfied. Not quite up to my all-time favorite, Alton Brown's Good Eats Meatloaf, but still well worth the effort. But man, my photos sucked. Even the photo from the magazine isn't that great. So disregard these visuals, and know that if you want a new twist on the common hunk of ground meat, this is well worth trying!

The Gourmet version, probably the 36th try.

My real world version. Looks sketchy, tastes great!

*** *** ***

Meatloaf with bacon & prunes
from Gourmet Magazine
makes 6 servings with leftovers

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup whole milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 lb bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 1/2 lb ground beef chuck
1/2 lb ground pork (not lean)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Garnish: cooked bacon (optional)


1-Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

2-Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl.

3-Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Add to bread-crumb mixture.

4-Finely chop bacon and prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.

5-Pack mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Cooks' note: Cooked meatloaf keeps, chilled, 3 days.
BB note: I thought the meatloaf was a little too moist, and didn't slice as cleanly as I would have liked. Next time I make it, I think I would not soak the bread crumbs in milk, and mix them in dry. The veggies, prunes, bacon fat, Worcestershire and cider vinegar to me add plenty of moisture.


SP said...

Bruce, did it slice any better the next day, or did it still kind of fall apart? I am a fan of the Alton Brown recipe, and I found that -- as always -- the man knows his stuff: you want to let it sit for an hour before you slice it, and it holds together even better the next day.

bb said...

It sliced a little better the next day. And I still prefer Alton's "Good Eats" meatloaf. It slices better and makes the best sandos!