Almost Time for Comfort Food
Wow! It’s hard to believe it’s November and summertime burgers on the grill are just a memory.
It’s not quite cold enough for heavy duty comfort food, but it is cool enough for something satisfying that doesn’t take hours to prepare. I think it’s just about the right time to transition from those burgers on the grill to a good old fashion meatloaf. Ahh, the humble meatloaf. Family recipes abound. Some recipes call for ground turkey, some for various combinations of beef, pork, lamb or veal. My mom served meatloaf with tomato sauce and we devoured it. In Sweden lingonberry jam is a must with meatloaf. The Danish wrap theirs in bacon. In South Africa, where the meat is mixed with tamarind paste and chutney, seasoned with curry, then baked with a top layer of egg custard it’s the national dish called bobotie.
Meatloaf seems to be everyday comfort food around the world. Today Oli shares an easy weeknight dinner of gently herbed meatloaf served with mushroom sauce. The bacon bits impart a subtle, smoky flavor to the meatloaf and the sauce has a hint of sherry that lends just a tad of sweetness to the earthy mushrooms. He chose steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes as sides, but anything goes. Use whatever fresh, seasonal veggies are available from your farmers’ market. Or for a bit of nostalgia, serve what accompanied meatloaf in your house when you were a kid.
By the way, I think that meatloaf is one of the few foods that really does taste better the next day. I have fond memories of meatloaf sandwiches, with maybe a slice of cheese, in my grammar school lunchbox. Mmm, tastes like comfort food to me.
We hope you enjoy.
and Mushroom Sauce
The low oven temperature ensures a nice, moist meatloaf. Make the sauce just before you take the meatloaf out of the oven.
3 slices of sandwich bread, edges removed
1 cup milk
4 ounces bacon, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 small eggs
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Preheat oven to 325 F
1. Cut bread into small cubes and soak them in the milk while you prepare the rest.
3. Cook onions in the remaining bacon fat until translucent. Set aside to cool.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the soaked bread cubes with the milk, meat, thyme, oregano, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper, bacon and onions until well combined.
5. Form the meat mixture into a loaf and place on a non stick baking sheet.
6. Bake on middle oven rack 50-60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 F.
Adding some uncooked mushrooms at the end of cooking gives a nice textural element to the sauce.
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 cups cream
1 cube beef stock (bouillon)
freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons Sherry
1. Melt butter in a wide pot over high heat. Add 2/3 of the mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly until golden. Reduce heat to medium high, toss in onions and cook, stirring constantly until translucent.
2. Add flour and stir until mixed. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Plop in beef bouillon cube and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Season with pepper to taste.