Friday, June 22, 2012

It's been a while...

Hello! Sarah and I have been cooking in the last 9-12 months, I promise, we just haven't been posting. I will admit, my rate of cooking went way down during grad school, and the amount of new recipes I tried suffered greatly. The good news? I graduated a few weeks ago and I'm already cooking up a storm! Not only am I trying new dishes, but I'm trying new dishes that I previously thought I hated. First up? Meatloaf!

People gush over meatloaf, but I've always hated it. I decided, if people love it so much, maybe I should give it a try. What if I make it myself? Maybe I just had a style of meatloaf 10 years ago that was bad and haven't tried it since. Or - gosh - maybe my taste has evolved. So of course I pulled out my trusty 'New Best Recipes' by the folks over at Cook's Illustrated and went to town. Their recipe called for the loaf to be wrapped in bacon and placed on a baking sheet, but I skipped the bacon and went for the loaf pan which doubled the cook time, but I think it was worth it. I also increased the amount of glaze the recipe calls for, and added a quick broil of each slice of meatloaf at the end, to provide some crispiness.

For the Glaze...

Ingredients: 3/4 cup ketchup, 3 t chili sauce (adds some kick, totally optional but highly recommended), 1/3 cup brown sugar, 6 t cider or white vinegar.

Instructions: Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and set aside.

For the Meatloaf...

Ingredients: 2 t vegetable oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 eggs, 1/2 t dried thyme, 1 t salt, 1/2 t ground pepper, 2 t Dijon mustard, 2 t Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 t hot pepper sauce (I used cholula, but rooster sauce or tapatio would would work just as well), 1/2 cup plain yogurt (a little less than 1 single serving container), 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb of ground pork and ground veal mixture (I did .35 lb veal and .65 lb pork, but the recipe calls for half and half - it's up to you), 2/3 cup crushed saltines, 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves.

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Saute the onion and garlic on low heat until soft, about five minutes, set aside to cool.  Mix the eggs, thyme, salt, black pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and yogurt in a large bowl. Add the cooked onions and garlic, meat, crackers and parsley and mix together until combined. I just used my hands for this so that I could make sure the different meats got mixed together.  At this point you can either add it to a loaf pan or shape it into a loaf shape and put it on a baking sheet - your call.  If you do the second method, place it on tin foil.  Use a third of the glaze to coat the loaf.

Bake until the meat registers 160 degrees F.  The cookbook said this would take about an hour, with the loaf pan it took nearly 2, so allow for a lot of time. Once it registers the right temperature, allow to cool for 20 minutes. While the loaf is cooling, heat the remaining glaze over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Slice the meatloaf, spread the remaining glaze over the slices and at this point, you can serve it, but I actually broiled the glazed slices for just a few minutes to crisp up the edges, and then I served it - I highly recommend it.

Note: I know this is a weird dish to make in the summer, but in Seattle it's rainy and cold for 2/3 of the days in June, so I made it on one of those rainy was still delicious during the more summer like day later that week.