Meat Loaf

The Best Meatloaf He's ever had

It’s been freezing cold for several days now. The New York Times says it is in the 30’s today, but here on the far East side of Manhattan I’d say it feels well below 20. The blustery winds from the East River whip up and down York and First Avenues, giving us our own litle microclimate, similar to, say… Siberia. Even my 9 year old daughter caves in and wears a scarf.

Well, when the weather gets tough, the tough make meat loaf. The great American comfort food, that, with its faithful companion the mashed potato, can warm the cockles, sooth the savage beast and ease the way into a long winter’s night.

Now, I know how to make meatloaf, you know how to make meatloaf…everyone knows how to make meatloaf. I even have a great recipe for meat loaf, thanks to my mother-in-law, The Greatest Home Cook in the World. (Irene, when are you going to start a food blog?) But Irene’s recipe calls for whipped cream cheese and motsa meal (Aren’t you curious? Sorry, some other time..), and I had neither. But I did have some ground siroloin and some Italian sweet sausage, plus some great homemade bread crumbs pining away in my freezer. So, off I went to my usual starting place, Epicurious.com (always sorting the search by fork rating to avoid wasting time on the duds). And there, three down from the the top on the search for “meat loaf”, I found it – Old Fashioned Meat Loaf (Gourmet, 1994). Of course, I made a few changes. But when it was done, it was, according to my husband (who of course has had his mother’s meat loaf), THE BEST MEAT LOAF HE’S EVER HAD.

I served it with mashed potatoes that I made from red bliss potatoes. I’d never used these particular type of potato in mashed potatoes before. Wow, they are so creamy, you barely need any milk (I used about a tbsp or so of half and half). I also made haricot verts. Easy recipe (again from Irene). You put the beans in a baking dish with olive oil, salt, pepper, and zest of one lemon. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Delicious!

The Best Meat Loaf He’s Ever Had
Cook 1 small finely chopped onion and 1 finely chopped shallot, along with with 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped celery rib, and 1 finely chopped carrot in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over moderate heat until vegetables soften (5 minutes). Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and cook another 5 minutes, covered. Cool slightly.Add mixture to large bowl, into which you have alreay placed 3/4 lb ground sirloin and 3/4 lb italian sweet sausage (casings off). Add 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 cup bread crumbs, 2 large eggs (beaten lightly) and 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves. Form into loaf in a meat loaf pan (I used a glass pyrex dish). Top with another 1/3 cup ketchup and arrange thin slices of mushroom over top (about 2-3 mushrooms, total).

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 1 hour, or until meat thermometer reads 155 degrees fahrenheit.

Serve tonite with mashed potatoes and green beans. Tomorrow, you’ll have a great meat loaf sandwich.

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