Saturday, February 23, 2008

February 23: Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Classic, old-fashioned food re-interpreted in a new way is something I like a lot. I'm clearly not alone; there are whole competitions based on reinventing fried chicken, chili, and meatloaf, and as many variations on the classic dishes as there are people who are cooking them.

There are some things that my mother just never made when I was growing up. She made amazing tuna noodle casserole but I can remember eating rice maybe a dozen times between my earliest memories and when I went to college. We ate American chop suey--that ubiquitous mixture of elbow macaroni, diced tomatoes, and browned ground beef with spices--regularly, but I never tasted even the Americanized restaurant version of Chinese food until I was probably 13.

Meatloaf was another thing she never made, which probably explains my low-key obsession with it. However, I rarely make it either. My husband, in an effort to avoid being stop-lossed his last year in the military, switched from engineering to cooking; he makes meatloaf so well there is no sense in me doing it at all. When I do make it, I make a quickie Mexican version--individual meatloafs baked in muffin tins, stuffed with salsa, and topped with cheese. It sounds bizarre, I know, but with Mexican rice and a big salad, it's a great, easy dinner that even my 2-year-old snarfs right down.

I may try this recipe, though; it appeared in Fine Cooking magazine this month, one of three meatloaf recipes. It's exactly what I mean about new twists on a classic. Three chefs, three very different meatloaves, all variations on a delicious theme. I would double this recipe so that I could have meatloaf sandwiches later. It's one of those things that taste better the second day.

My grocery store does not typically carry ground veal. I think that I would just use more ground beef in this case.

This serves 8.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

4 oz. cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped.
1/2 cup minced onion
3 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tbsp. minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. dense white bread, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
8 slices center-cut bacon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the onion, sherry, garlic, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread, milk, and egg. Stir well, lightly mashing the bread until most of the ligquid is absorbed. Add the beef, veal, pork, brown sugar, worcestershire, and the onion-mushroom mixture. Using a large, sturdy wooden spoon or your hands, gently mix just until all the ingredients are blended; you may need to push the meat against the side of the bowl to break up the pieces.

Put the meat mixture ina 9x13 inch metal baking pan. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf about 10x4 inches. wrap the strips of bacon around the loaf crosswise, overlapping them slightly and tucking the neds under the loaf.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 160, 60 to 70 minutes. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiling element. Heat the broiler to high. Broil the meatloaf until the bacon is brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Let the loaf rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Use two flat spatulas to transfer the meatloaf to a serving platter. Slice and serve.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

The Southern version of meatloaf would send you into fits. It involves crumbled up Saltines and ketchup on top. Needless to say, I do not care for meatloaf. That said, your Meximeatloaf muffins sound like something I could get behind. Post that recipe and I'll give it a try. Like Dan, I also like mini food. Oh, you should also post about that, the way your husband can tear through a stack of mini cheeseburgers.