Thursday, November 25, 2010

THANKSGIVING, AMERICAN STYLE...


As promised, here is the update.

So, rather than going with a beef/pork combo for our meatloaf, we decided to splurge and go all out. It's only American Thanksgiving once a year, right?


On the left here, 1/2 lb. lamb, in the middle, 1/2 lb. veal, followed by 1/2 lb. pork.

One thing you always have to keep in mind with meatloaf is drying it out, a lot of people like to put catsup in but personally I like to keep mine tomato-less, and there's two things you can do to help keep the moisture in the loaf.

1. Vegetables




Onions, celery and carrots totalling about 2 cups in volume. Those are hard-boiled eggs on the bottom there, which we will get to in a minute, but while were here, hard-boil two eggs. If you don't know, place your eggs in cold salted water and bring to a boil, then kill the heat and leave them alone for 12 minutes. Then dunk your eggs in cold water and gingerly peel immediately. The longer you wait the harder this becomes.

Some purists like to leave all vegetables out, and if you check the JOC, they also follow this path. When I make a new recipe, I like to consult as many different sources as I can find, let them all ruminate in my head for a while, and then roll with what feels right/seems like it will taste good.

So for me, vegetables: In.

2. Bread, not bread crumbs.


Just buy a nice fluffy loaf of white bread, terrible at most times, but fantastic to throw a couple of roughly torn up slices into the mix here. Also, hands down the best bread for meatloaf sandwiches.

The bread actually maintains the moisture throughout the loaf by soaking up a bunch of meat juice and eggs. While bread crumbs are essentially dehydrated, so you're already fighting an uphill battle there.

At this point you are ready to start combining things. Preheat your oven to 350Degree symbol


Into your bowl should be going: vegetables, bread, meat, and 2 raw eggs. For spices, throw in some thyme, salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes, all to taste but generally most portions of these under a teaspoon. At this point you should also be adding a couple of table spoons at least of worcestershire sauce.

One thing I decided to throw in at the last minute was some hot pepper jelly. Two or three tablespoons of it depending on your tastes. The particular brand I have isn't too spicy, so I added a bunch. (I will be doing a future post devoted to the myriad varieties of hot pepper jelly, & you will get a full rundown then.)

Your jammy should look like this by now:

Isolate a spoonful or two of this glorious mixture and fry it up in a pan to check for seasoning. Mine needed more salt. But for the most part, tasted pretty great. A good preview.



Now it's time to start building your loaf. Get a loaf pan, and give it the subtlest kiss of some kind of grease. Regardless of how lean you got your meat you're gonna get a lot of fat pouring out of this thing. A shocking amount actually, so be sparing here.

Put a 1" layer of your loaf mixture on the bottom of your pan. Remember those hard-boiled eggs? Place them on top of you mixture like so:



I know you probably think I'm crazy, but trust me, it tastes amazing and looks dope later on. If you've ever had a scotch egg, you know where this inspiration is coming from. You can sprinkle a little extra of the Lea & Perrins on them too if you like that flavour, which you should if you've gotten this far.

Now layer the rest of your loaf mixture into the pan, careful not to press too hard on top of the eggs as you can push them to the bottom of the pan, which kind of ruins the reveal at the end, and can make a mess of the loafness of your final product. While keeping this in mind, you also want to put some fair pressure around the edges to seal the top layer to the bottom, or when you slice it at the end, you will find a nice little gap in your loaf, and it will leave it's bottom half in the pan.

You should be shaping up like so by now:



Cover the loaf with some tinfoil and chuck that sucker into the middle rack of your oven for 1.5 hours.

Now for an amazing side dish that couldn't be simpler. Get 6 small-medium sized onions. Cut them into 1/4's or 1/6'ths leaving a bit of the root on so that all the layers to the core stay together somewhat. Throw those in a baking dish with a pinch of salt and two table spoons of olive oil. Drizzle 1/2 cup of balsamic over the top and mix it all up. Cover this dish with some tinfoil and throw it into the bottom of you oven for about 45-60 mins.

If you're feeling particularly ambitious, wrap up some un-peeled yams in some more foil and pop them in to flank your loaf on the top rack.

I didn't take a photo of the oven hierarchy so if it didn't make sense, peep this hot ascii art to visualize what I just described:

__@ \=====/ @__
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
\)()((()()()(((())())))/
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

Perfectly clear right? Whatever, I have always been terrible at that, but use your imagination. The @'s are yams...

While things are cooking, get another 2 tablespoons of your hot-pepper jelly and mix it up with some more worcestershire sauce to make a little glaze.

When your onion timer is up, take the foil off and cook them for another 5-10 to reduce the liquid. They should look like this after that:


After the 1.5 hours is up Bust your loaf out and pour off some of the excess fat and slather the glaze on top.

The top left of this photo shows some of the fat that I poured off sitting in a plate.


Cook for 30 more minutes. Remove, and pour off any remaining excess fat.

Here is the hardest part, but you will thank me for it later. Don't touch it. As irresistible as the smell is, just leave it alone for at least 10 minutes.

Now get a good sharp knife and cut through the loaf. You will instantly be able to tell if you have waited long enough because it will be firm and loaf like, or a pile of meaty rubble soaked in your tears.


Remember the hard-boiled eggs?


They Look like this now, and you look like a genius to your guests.


The meat combination here was superb, highly recommended, although I am curious about bison, just concerned it would be too dry as it is so lean. We also made some squash with our yams, quartered, brown sugar and a little olive oil.


Now, sit down and chone it up hard.


This seems like maybe a long post, I don't really know but I'm gonna cut the desert portion to just photos, follow the recipe on the side of the pureed pumpkin can. Don't buy pumpkin pie filler, it's often too sweet.

Combine all of this (except use only one egg, this was too foamy or something) and bake it:


There you have it kids, American Thanksgiving, Canadian style. Hope you enjoyed it.

Any thoughts, questions, comments? Don't hesitate to say something.

Best,

Morgan
Morgan Web Developer

1 comment: