Friday, October 1, 2010

Ode to a Meatloaf

I promised this recipe last year but never got around to it. This is the first time I've made this meatloaf since the Market Supper; I think we ate the leftovers for so many days in a row I was sick of it! I have a feeling this will happen again since this thing is HUGE and we're only the two of us - what a problem to have! I must admit the first night it was delicious - but for me the real joy comes the next day in the form of a sandwich. I warm a slice of the meatloaf, lightly toast some fresh sourdough bread, spread it with mayo, serve with potato chips and my bread and butter pickles - and I'm transported to childhood. There is a restaurant in Phoenix called The Sugar Bowl and I used to love to go there for a meatloaf sandwich. Since I've grown up (especially my taste buds) I've realized their version is too salty, but my love for a meatloaf sandwich has not diminished. The real trick about this loaf of meat is the bacon and prunes - I know it sounds weird, but trust me they add a smoky sweetness that surpasses your usual meatloaf covered in ketchup.

The Best Meatloaf serves four (don't have 6 people or you won't get any sandwiches!)

1 cup of fresh bread crumbs, couple white bread slices whizzed in a blender
1/3 cup whole milk
1 onion
2 medium carrots
1 stalk celery
couple tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
dash of allspice
4 slices thick bacon
1/2 cup pitted prunes
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground vitellone (Prather's version of veal - if you can't find this, just use beef)
3/4 pound ground pork
2 eggs
couple extra slices bacon

Pour the milk over the bread crumbs and set aside in a large mixing bowl. In a food processor put the onion, carrots and celery and puree until finely chopped. Cook these veggies in the butter in a small pan for about 10 min then add the worcestershire, vinegar and allspice. Add to the mixing bowl. Next, process the bacon and prunes until it is pureed and then add to the big bowl along with the meats, eggs and a little salt & lots of pepper. With your hands lightly mix together all the ingredients and then form into a loaf about 10 by 5 inches. Top with the extra slices of bacon. Then place a wire rack in a large sheet pan and then a piece of parchment on top. Place the loaf on the parchment - this way it gets crispy all over instead of steaming in a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about and hour and a quarter. Let sit for 15 min and then cut into thick slices and serve. Save some for sandwiches!

Post Note: A trick to figure out if your meatloaf - or for that matter meatballs - are salty enough, pinch off a little bit of the mixture and then fry a little in a pan to taste. Add more salt if necessary - remember it has all that bacon - and your don't want it to taste like Sugar Bowls! Well, maybe you do, but I don't like overly salty things.

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