From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Save for dyeing fondant green, I think I've covered all the recipes that are usually associated with St. Patrick's Day. Several years ago, in an attempt to keep the spirit of the day, I decided to feature recipes that were traditional Irish favorites but not necessarily associated with the holiday. I am going to expand on that idea this year and include recipes that are usually made with ingredients we associated with Ireland or Irish cooking. I hope you're receptive to the idea because I'm going to be featuring "Irish" recipes for the next week. I want to start with this incredible meatloaf. I plan to serve it to guests on St.Patrick's Day, along with Julia's mashed potatoes and some Irish vegetable dishes that I'll be sharing with you next week. Julia's potatoes can be found, here. The meatloaf is a homely affair but it has wonderful flavor, thanks in part to the lingering effects of the Guinness stout whose bitterness evaporates as it simmers with the vegetables that flavor the loaf. I loved it and I am not a meatloaf person. There is no snobbery involved. Having raised a family, I've made many a gazillion meatloaves and turned away from them out of sheer boredon and the desire to try new things. Every so often, however, recipes such as this one beckon and tempt me back to the chopping block. I mention that, because this recipe uses lots of ingredients and requires more than the usual amount of slicing and dicing. It is also a tad more expensive to make than most. It is worth it. This is not a ladylike entree. Hot or cold it has robust flavor that men will enjoy. The Silver Fox reported his socks were going up and down the first time he tried this. Mine came near that when I had it thinly sliced after a night in the refrigerator. Cold, it is like a heady peasant pate. I have a couple of suggestions to share with those of you who plan to make the meatloaf. If you are unable to find ground veal,ground chicken or turkey breast can be used in its place. You should also know that the loaf will look better if you drape it with thin, rather than thick, sliced bacon. Under the best of circumstances, it will take a lot of lipstick to make this a pretty pig. I really hope you'll give this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine a try. It will be an unexpected treat. St. Patrick would approve. Here's how the meatloaf is made.
Stout and Cheddar Meatloaf...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup small-diced celery
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
3/4 cup stout beer, such as Guinness
4 oz. medium-coarse white bread, such as Italian or French, crusts removed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 cup whole milk
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup dried mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
10 oz. (thin) sliced bacon (about 9 strips)
1) Position a rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper. Place dried mushroom in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate. SEt aside.
2) Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, cook stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
3) Add stout, and simmer briskly, until almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm.
4) Pour milk into a shallow bowl that is large enough to hold bread cubes in a single layer. Soak crustless bread in milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, about 5 to 10 minutes. Time will depend on the thickness, crumb and freshness of bread selected for use. Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove some of milk (it should be wet but not drenched). Finely chop and add to bowl with the vegetable mixture.
5) Add beef, veal or veal substitute and eggs to the onion mixture. Scatter Cheddar, drained rehydrated mushrooms, and parsley over meat, and then sprinkle with Worcestershire, 2-1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use hands to gently mix all ingredients until just combined; try not to compact while mixing.
6) Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Form 1 tablespoon of meatloaf mixture into a small patty. When oil is hot, cook patty on both sides until cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings as needed. Repeat until you're satisfied with flavor of meatloaf mix.
7) Transfer meatloaf mixture to prepared pan and form into a 10 x 4-inch rectangular block (it becomes loaf-shaped as it cooks). Finish meatloaf by draping it with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf.
8) Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in center of the meatloaf, 40 to 55 minutes.
9) Broil meatloaf about 6 inches from the broiler element until the bacon is brown and crisped, about 3 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter with a large spatula and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices. Yield: 8 servings.
One Year Ago Today: Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread for St.Patrick's Day
Two Years Ago Today: Indian Butter Chicken
Three Years Ago Today: Salt Rubbed Roast Chicken
Four Years Ago Today: Pork Indochine and Halong Bay