Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Meatloaf By Any Other Name


Though it wasn't traumatic enough to be called an "issue," it took me years to come around on the subject of meatloaf. And I can't blame my mother; it wasn't her fault she was so traumatized by her dietetics professors in college that "trichinosis" was a word used in conjunction with "meat" in our household. And apparently I wasn't the only one, as contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood alludes to in his introduction below.

Polpettone

It sounds better than meatloaf. Depending on your formative years and early meatloaf experience, you probably either love or hate it. If the latter is true for you, an overly dense, leaden version likely put you off. Try mine.

For a pound of ground meat* (beef, or a mixture of beef with pork or chicken; I used buffalo and yak from Pine Mountain recently), finely chop half an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a carrot, a celery stalk, and enough green cabbage to give you about a cup. I chop the vegetables coarsely then process in the Cuisinart for a few seconds. Cook in a bit of olive oil for about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Combine the ground meat, cooked vegetables, a couple of eggs, a cup or so of bread crumbs, half cup or so of freshly grated Parmigiano, sea salt, and pepper. If you like, toss in a bit of marjoram, thyme, or oregano; a few slices of finely diced mortadella make it even more Italian. Use your hands to mix thoroughly, then form a freestyle loaf on a sheet pan or cast iron skillet. Top with a few slices of bacon or other fatty pork if you like, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Let the loaf cool off a little before slicing.

[* When making Jim's recipe, I adjusted the amounts as follows: 2 lbs. ground meat (I used half beef, half pork), 1 med. onion, 2 large cloves garlic, a carrot, one stalk celery, 1 c. cabbage, 2 eggs, 1 c. bread crumbs, 1/2 c. Parmesan, then the rest of the recipe as is (without the mortadella, though that sounds like a great idea). And I always mix mine with a spoon or hefty fork, since squishing it with my hands tends to make a denser loaf. Using two pounds of meat for the loaf would normally serve 4 for dinner unless you're pigs like we are, the three of us polishing it off easily. - KAB]

2 comments:

Kathryn Yeomans said...

A suggestion - don't "squish" with your hands, use them like a fork and mix with your open hand rather than squeezing.

KAB said...

Great suggestion, Kathryn…thanks!