Friday, January 2, 2015

Ian Knauer's Meatloaf Recipe

Who is Ian Knauer? I haven't the slightest idea, but he's put together a fabulous meatloaf recipe that is truly delicious! Most folks balk at the thought of meatloaf. They shun the jolting memories of a hunk of meat covered in sugary ketchup. No longer, my friends, no longer must you run. This recipe is fit for a crowd, considering it calls for just over two pounds of meat! However, if you end up with leftovers, they won't last long. I made a few adjustments (as noted below by asterisks), but otherwise, this has all the makings of perfection.

Ingredients:
  • 1c fine breadcrumbs, seasoned*
  • 1/3c milk
  • 1 medium onion OR small shallot*
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4tsp allspice, ground
  • 1tsp salt*
  • 1/2tsp pepper*
  • 1/4lb bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
  • 1/2c pitted prunes
  • 1 1/2lb ground beef chuck
  • 1/2lb ground pork (not lean)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3c fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack set in the middle of oven.
  2. Soak bread crumbs in bowl of milk.
  3. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add to bread-crumb mixture.
  6. Finely chop bacon and prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture.
  7. Add beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.  
  8. Shape mixture into "loaf" (9"x5" oval) onto broiler pan*. (The broiler pan will allow grease to escape from your meatloaf so that you don't end up with the soggy, greasy mess that we think of when making traditional meatloaf.)
  9. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Since this is a pretty labor intensive recipe, I found it helpful to chop and cook the onion mixture (later adding the Worcestershire mixture to it) and chopping up the prunes and bacon the NIGHT BEFORE. The day of, I combined all of the ingredients, including my milk-soaked breadcrumbs, by hand. (....also, in an effort of full disclosure, I did not use my food processor because I didn't want to clean it up afterwards......I used kitchen scissors instead.)

I would caution you to add the salt and pepper to TASTE rather than simply going by the ingredient amounts above. Mr. Knauer originally called for 2tsp salt and 1 1/2tsp pepper. That seemed a bit extreme for me personally, so I halved it. In the end, our meatloaf was still a bit too peppery, so I recorded it as a third of the original recipe above. One way to "test" your "to taste" with raw mixtures, is to take a 1" ball of the mixture, flatten it, and pop it in the microwave for thirty seconds to one minute. It won't be EXACTLY like your oven, but it will give you a decent approximation of taste.

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