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I collected numerous meat loaf recipes along the farm trail and have combined elements from each
to make one that is an exemplary version of this American favorite.
While I was developing the recipe, I polled many meat loaf lovers, relying particularly upon the taste of
my brother, John, who has a good palate for all foods and is a meat loaf fan of uncommon devotion.
"It's got to have just the right onion flavor, and ketchup is essential or you can't really call it meat loaf," he
insisted. "The bacon isn't absolutely necessary, but I know a meat loaf will be good when it's got some on top."
As for green pepper, well, he was adamantly opposed, and when I mentioned the addition of capers, he cringed.
He also insisted that the true test of a meat loaf is the quality it gives to a sandwich the next day (the one meat loaf fact I knew).
With his advice and my sheaf of farm recipes, I came up with this one, and I have served it many times to rave
reviews. It satisfies that nostalgia for a dish that nearly every American, it seems, grew up loving.
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2 medium onions, diced (to give 2 cups)
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
3 slices bacon
||Preheat the oven to 350°F.|
||Place the onions, meat, horseradish, salt, mustard, and herbs in a large bowl
and lightly toss them together, using your hands, until they are thoroughly mixed.|
||Whisk the eggs and the milk together in a small bowl.
Add this to the meat mixture, and again mix with your hands,
working lightly. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the mixture, and
continue mixing until they are incorporated.|
||To test for seasoning, make a tablespoon-size patty of the mixture and sauté it in a small
skillet over medium heat until it is cooked through. Taste, and adjust accordingly.|
||Place the meat loaf in a 10 x 13-inch baking dish or on a jellyroll pan, gently
shaping it into a long loaf that is 4 1/2 to 5 inches wide. Slather the top with the
ketchup, and then lay the bacon slices diagonally across the width of the loaf.|
||Place the dish in the center of the oven and bake until the meat loaf is cooked through and brown around the edges, about 50 minutes.|
||Remove the meat loaf from the oven, and let it rest for 5 minutes in the pan.
Remove it from the pan, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest an additional
5 to 10 minutes before slicing.|
Excerpted from FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK copyright © 1991 Susan Herrmann Loomis.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.