Friday, March 12, 2010

Meatloaf Madness

The beginning of the week was a big sunny bunch of madness. Now, with the rain and a chill it’s a little sad. Which brings me to the great comfort of meatloaf. If meatloaf were emotion on display, it would be a long warm hug from a big friend.

Meatloaf for me had always been associated with the school cafeteria, but now I’ve grown to appreciate it’s self-basting fatty goodness. It’s really easy to make and above all, satisfying. I like to make it in a loaf pan so it is essentially simmering in its own fat the entire time. The fat drains off at the end, but it is no diet food - it’s a giant loaf of meat, with breadcrumbs.

Serves 8

If you really want to get jiggy with this, add 2 tablespoons of beef marrow fat or bacon fat. Remember, fat equals flavor. It does not equal modeling contracts or the right to wear bikinis in public. Consider your priorities.

1 ½ cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or coarse breadrumbs
2/3 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 ½ pounds ground beef (85% lean is best)
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
½ cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 large shallot
½ teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 strips bacon

Use your hands to combine all the ingredients except the bacon in a large bowl until well combined. Place the mixture in an 8 ½ inch by 4 ½ inch by 2 ½ inch loaf pan, form into a loaf shape.

Place the loaf pan on a sheet pan with edges. Lay the bacon over the loaf in a cris-cross pattern, tuck the ends into the pan if they hang over the edge. Bake at 375 degrees until internal temperature is 145 degrees, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let the meatloaf cool 10 minutes, run a knife between the pan and the loaf to release it. Place the meatloaf on a platter or cutting board, discard the grease that is left in the pan or use it to make a gravy. Cut in 1 inch thick slices.

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