Although I loved winter as a kid, I have not been a big fan since my teens. Chapped lips, dry skin, and an inability to stay warm make it hard for me to like the season. But winter does have at least one saving grace -- it acts as the perfect foil for comfort food. The cold and dark make one appreciate hot, rich meals that fill you up and make you happy, no matter how few hours of daylight there may be. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes is one of them...In addition to being refreshingly unpretentious and very tasty, meatloaf is also quite fun to cook. To quote the Joy of Cooking, "Part of the pleasure of making meatloaf is that it is entirely unfussy and open to interpretation."
The recipe below is cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes to create a perfect combination of savory meat, flavorful herbs, and sweet glaze. But you should feel free to take the Joy of Cooking's advice and adapt this recipe to meld the flavors to your liking.We are fortunate to have easy access to excellent, locally-raised, free range, grass-fed, organic beef. I used a mix of ground beef from Bear River Valley Ranch (I actually met Hugo, the rancher, when I went to buy the ground beef for this recipe -- he was giving out samples at our local butcher shop) and Niman Ranch ground pork. I served this meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach with garlic, and butter-braised new turnips - delish!Stay warm!
Maple-Glazed Meatloaf With Rolled Oats and Fresh Thyme
For the meatloaf
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup rolled oats (or 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs - you can also do half and half if you prefer)
* 2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped
* 1 1/2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1/4 cup ketchup
* 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
* 2-3 ribs of celery, finely diced
* 2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
* 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
* 1 1/2 lbs free range grass-fed ground beef
* 1/2 lb free range organic pork (or Italian pork sausage)
* 2 Tbsp butter
For the glaze
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, carrot and celery in butter, over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and stir occasionally until the carrots and celery are tender, about 5 more minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute.
3. In a large bowl, combine the meat, eggs, vegetables, oats and/or bread crumbs, and herbs. Use your hands to mix thoroughly (but do not over mix as this will hurt the texture of the finished meatloaf). Pour the mixture into a glass loaf pan and mound in the center slightly to make a traditional loaf shape.
4. Make the maple glaze and cover the loaf liberally with the mixture. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the middle of the loaf reaches 160 degrees.A few more recipes you might like: