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Meatloaf Arrives An old dinner favorite goes upscale

March 31, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

* The next two recipes are from Michael McLaughlin's book, Fifty-Two Meat Loaves. He calls this first recipe "the quintessential meatloaf and the ultimate expression of the entire genre."

The dream loaf

Serves six to eight.

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups finely chopped onions

1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup sliced green onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup canned beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1/2 cup ketchup

5 slices thick-cut bacon, halved crosswise

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When i foams, add the onions, bell pepper, green onion and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, for another 4 or 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce and soy sauce until well-blended. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, pork and veal with the onion mixture, the egg mixture, cheese and cracker crumbs. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Transfer the meat mixture to a shallow baking dish and shape it into a loaf about 3 inches thick; smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Spread the ketchup evenly over the loaf. Arrange the bacon strips atop the ketchup, overlapping them slightly if necessary.

*

The meatloaf that's so popular at the Wharf Rat contains Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. The recipe is a secret, but this recipe from Mr. McLaughlin uses similar ingredients. He notes in the introduction that it's the one he cooks most often at home.

Two-meat loaf with sun-dried tomatoes

Serves six to eight

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 pound Italian-style sweet sausage, casings removed

1/2 cup coarsely chopped oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, sausage, the onion mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Transfer the meat mixture to a shallow baking dish and shape it into a flat loaf about 2 1/2 inches thick; smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake about 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-reading thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf registers 165 degrees. Let rest on a rack 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

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