Long before I started this blog, I would post pictures or leave status updates on facebook about what I was cooking. I guess I left so many that people started thinking I knew what I was doing and started asking me for recipes. One day, I got a message in my inbox from a friend who was in her third trimester of pregnancy and was craving meat. Specifically, she requested a recipe for meat loaf. She said she just knew I’d have a good one. Did I mention I am a nurse in a NICU and I have experience dealing with pregnant women and postpartum women? I know enough not to mess with one! I didn’t have the heart to tell her I don’t like meat loaf, therefor I don’t have a recipe that I’ve tried for meat loaf. I lied. I’m sorry, Amy, but you were in a delicate state. Your baby wanted meat, and I wanted to give your baby what it wanted. It’s in my nature, it’s what I do. I wrote back to Amy and sent her a recipe that I found in a cookbook that I love along with modifications I would make if I were going to make it. She wrote back, excitedly saying, “Girrrrl, now that’s what I’m talking about!” I crossed my fingers and hoped she liked the results.
The other night I started thinking about that email and curiosity got the best of me. I decided to go ahead and put “my” recipe to the test. My family was less than enthusiastic about the menu that night. I gathered my ingredients and went to it. While cooking, I noticed that the instructions I gave her were less than complete. For example, I told her to saute some onions and garlic in olive oil, but never wrote to add them to the meat. Amy, thankfully is a smart cookie and I am sure she figured it out. I hope she didn’t think that I saute onions just to leave them on the stove. Although, I have defrosted shrimp only to leave them on the counter overnight (see here).
I did make one or two changes from the recipe I sent Amy, but only because I found this jar of Cacciatore sauce and thought it would be an awesome addition and I left out the veal because I didn’t feel like driving to Whole Foods to get it, instead I used mild Italian sausage.
The results of this recipe I tested on a friend are in. As far as meat loaf goes, it was good. I discovered that I still don’t really like meat loaf, but it’s more of a textural issue, than a taste issue. There are some modifications I would make, if I ever make this again. One would be to add Pecorino Romano cheese to the loaf, and maybe some Italian Parsley. I would also slice it when it was done and broil the slices to add a little texture. I might even add a slice of mozzarella. My daughter summed up the experience with, “Well, I don’t *hate* it.”
(adapted from Rao’s Recipes From The Neighborhood)
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (I told Amy to use 1/4 cup – I would guess that is too much), plus more to grease the pan.
- 1 large onion, diced (I do a really fine dice, because I don’t like big chunks of onion)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- 1 pound ground beef (I use chuck for meat loaf)
- 1 pound mild italian sausage, removed from casings)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 bottle Cookwell and Company Two Step Cacciatore sauce)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- thick sliced peppered bacon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a sheet pan with olive oil.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until it is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and saute for about 30 seconds more.
In a large bowl, mix the meat and season with salt and pepper. Add milk, eggs, 1 cup of the Cacciatore sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs and sauteed onions, garlic and shallots. Mix thoroughly and place on sheet pan and shape into a loaf. Criss-cross bacon over the top and bake in the oven for one hour. Add the remaining Cacciatore sauce over the top and bake for another half hour until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Slice and serve. I personally remove the bacon, because it doesn’t become crisp in the oven and raw (or raw-looking bacon skeeves me out). Slice and….don’t hate it.
Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the finished product. Let’s look at another blurry picture of it in the oven after I poured the sauce on it.