Recipe: Meatloaf

Hello one and all,

After a well-earned break on the coast, I am back in the kitchen. This month we are taking a brief look at American cuisine.  Now there is simply too much of it to cover in a single month, even region by region it would take several months. So we are starting with the North East coast kicking things off with a traditional American Meatloaf.  Now to get the definitive recipe is impossible, every household does it different.  But I had a look through about ten recipes and came up with something workable.

For two people you need:

  • One and a half kilogram of pork and beef mince, mixed.
  • Half a pepper
  • One onion
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Streaky bacon
  • Oregano and Seasonings
  • Four egg whites
  • Breadcrumbs.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato and garlic puree
  • Four large sweet potatoes
  • Butter
  • Beef stock
  • Flour
  • Jack Daniels marinade or whatever you prefer
  • Right, this is a messy one.  You have been warned.  
  1. Start with a mixing bowl, and crack open the eggs.  Using the egg-shell halves, separate the egg whites from the yolks, and place the whites into the mixing bowl.  
  2. Add two tea cups of breadcrumbs and then the two fist sized balls of minced meat, one of pork and one of beef.  
  3. Now peel and dice one onion very, very finely and add it to the bowl. Dice the handful of mushrooms and half a pepper, add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, one tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoonful of garlic puree.
  4. Set your oven to pre-heat at 180c.
  5. Take one large double-handed pan, like the one we used for paella and spread a little oil over the base, just to prevent stickiness.  Next wet a cloth and spread it out on a work top and place a red chopping board over the top of that.  Open the streaky bacon pack, lay out the bacon strips in a star formation, four pieces for each meatloaf. Then, using a pastry brush, spread the Jack Daniels marinade over the meatloaf.  
  6. Next, wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and warm water and dry them well.
  7. Go back to the mixing bowl and mix the hell out of the ingredients, right to the bottom.  Make sure all the breadcrumbs and egg white combines thoroughly and that everything is evenly mixed.  Take a good few minutes to bind it all together.  If the mixture seems too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a little water.
  8. Now form two fist sized balls of meat out of the mix.  Place each one in the middle of a bacon 'star'.  Now fold up the edges of the bacon right to the top and carefully turn them over and place them onto the pan.
  9. Wash your hands again to get all the mix off and you can add the mixing bowl to the washing up.
  10.  Add a third of a cup of water to the base of the pan and cover the whole thing with foil.  Place in the oven and cook for an hour at 180 degrees..
  11. Right, boil a full kettle of water.  Put the red chopping board in the sink and replace it with a green chopping board.  Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, put them into a pan and add the boiling water.  Heat them on a hob until they are soft.  Now is a good time to take care of your washing up so far.
  12. Add 200 ml of beef stock into the smallest sauce pan you have and heat it slowly, stirring in plain flour until it thickens.  Whisk it well to avoid lumpiness - be brisk with the whisk!  Add some Worcestershire sauce to give it a kick, and some Jack Daniels marinade.
By now the sweet potatoes should be soft.  Drain off the water and place them into the (clean) mixing bowl.  Mash them down with a potato masher, add salt, pepper and two tablespoons of butter.  Mix it all well, then set aside.

I think you have time to pour a drink now.

Once the hour is up, take three plates and warm them in the oven for a few seconds.  Using a thick, clean oven cloth, place them on a work top.  Add a good ladle of mashed potato to the middle of each place.

Carefully take the pan of meatloaf out of the oven and place it on a pan stand or wooden chopping board. Using an oven cloth and great care, peel back the foil.  Be very wary of the steam, if it burns, it hurts like hell. Use a pallet knife and oven tongs to place the meatloaf on top of the mashed potato, very carefully.  Pour the gravy around the edges of the plate, and serve.

And enjoy!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.