Meat Loaf can be more than just comfort food….it can be poetry.Beef / November 22, 2016
There is prose and music in every kitchen. Those who use their culinary talents to transform a table, elevate a palate, and elicit a gasp for simply plating food deserve a little extra applause. I revere those who are geniuses in an apron. They inspire me.
And then there’s the meat loaf. Oh gosh. So many things have transpired in the lives of people over a plate of meatloaf, even though it has a name that sounds like a lazy side of cow, or a deadbeat, or an ex-spouse who never paid alimony. This is what we refer to as “comfort food?” We’re odd creatures indeed.
So, being the bling-cuisine geek that I am, I decided to help this dish along. Iit could also stand to have a few little twists added in addition to being presented as though it were inside a compartmentalized tin foil container. I am not changing it drastically, mind you. I just added some sriracha sauce and some complex artisanal herb salt that fell gently into the mass of ground beef like a secret being written in a diary. Only those who read it with care will find truth between the lines….or between the tines, I suppose.
I do have a few recipes for meatloaf that add raisins or cranberries, and benefit from the addition of Moroccan spices and exotic local sausage. But this time, I just added a kick. Sorely needed, in my opinion.
Now, “gravy” is another subject entirely. It’s already feels comfortable. Like the sayings, “good gravy!” and “you’re riding the gravy train..” or “the rest is just gravy,” we can’t help smiling while it’s thickening.
But let’s move on. This post is about meatloaf. About a brick of beef. And as you’re viewing these photos you are beginning to see how serious I am about improving our little icon of everyday nourishment.
Next, it isn’t comfort food without potatoes. But not just any potato! Miniature golden potatoes, roasted with fragrant thyme and lots of excellent olive oil and aged balsamic. These regal roots could even stand on their own, don’t you agree?
Now, growing up, my mother always cooked her meatloaf in a loaf pan. (duh…) But it’s messy and the beef ends up kind of bubbling in its own vat of fat. That’s fine with other more conscious meal preparations, but we’re trying to mitigate everything “loafy,” yes? I say, form it into a brick on a sheet pan lined with foil. The meat cooks more evenly, (especially when you use a meat thermometer for accuracy,) it’s easier to say, “Oh, wow! That is so pretty!” And clean up is a snap. You’re going to want to keep licking the gravy bowl so I’m all for freeing up more time for slurping.
Overall, I think I accomplished my goal. I added a little poetry to my plate, and I am giving you the recipe so you can do it, too.
And lucky for you I didn’t have thyme to make anything rhyme….