Not marcella's meatloaf (long)
So yes, I'm a big fan of Marcella. participated w/ exhuberance in cooking from her book in Sept. I was about to embark on her meatloaf when I thought: (1) hard to do on stove top, and (2) all beef?? I don't like ground beef, never eat hamburgers, and never really cared for meatloaf.
That's when I opened up my other cookbooks and went for the Bruce Aidells (The complete meat cookbook) "not like my mom's meat loaf". Added a pound of ground veal and pound of pork. And 1-1/2 oz dried porcini and some fresh mushrooms. Used Marcella's technique of reducing porcini soaking liquid, and then added to sauteed mushrooms, and reduced to nothing to concentrate flavors. My DH came into the kitchen with me kneading oh, 3# of meat in a very large bowl and he said: what the %@$# is all THAT for? (there are only 2 of us)
Well, in fact, I must say it was for a very excellent meatloaf. The first ever I have truly loved. Took out of the oven and kept picking at it with a fork, mmm, making a big cavity on the side while I cooked familiar mashed potatoes w/ roasted garlic, and pan-sauteed green beans w/ shallots, garlic & toasted walnuts. Yum.
This is the meatloaf I made, adapted from Bruce Aidells. The only meatloaf I have ever liked. I like the bass notes of porcini and worcestshire. No tomato product in the vicinity!
1-1/2 oz dried porcini, soaked in 2 c. warm water for 1⁄2 hr
3 oz fresh oyster mushrooms (I would have used 1⁄2 # shitake if they were in stock in my crummy supermarket)
1 c. soft fresh bread crumbs (hand-shredded insides of semi-stale tuscan bread)
1⁄2 c. heavy cream
1 med-large onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole egg plus one egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 T worcestshire sauce
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 t dried thyme
1 T kosher salt
black pepper – until my hands got too tired grinding – ideally 1 t
1 # local humane ground beef
1 # ground veal
1 # ground pork
3 slices pancetta
1. Remove dried mushrooms from water soak, and drain (strained in sieve w/ dampened paper towel), reserving liquid. Rinse dried mushrooms and let dry on paper towels, squeeze out moisture. Chop both fresh and reconstituted mushrooms, and set aside.
2. Put mushroom liquid in pot and reduce to 1/3 c. Set aside.
3. Soak bread crumbs in cream in bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onions in large skillet w/ a bit of olive oil until soft, about 5 mins. Add garlic and stir a lot for a minute or two. Remove and set aside in large bowl.
5. Add more oil, and saute all mushrooms, stirring almost constantly until liquid is released and then evaporates. Add reduced soaking liquid, and cook until evaporated. Add mushrooms to bowl of onions.
6. Add to bowl: eggs, worcestshire, parsley, thyme, S&P. Mix well. Add ground meats and soaked bread crumbs w/ liquid. Knead together with your hands and plop onto foil-lined baking sheet, shaping and patting down into ovalish shape. Then as you’re admiring your loaf and it starts sagging out, mush back together tucking underneath. Put pancetta on top.
7. Pop into oven w/ Polder thermometer stuck in center, set for 155 degrees. Plan to cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, but then your non-functioning thermometer (which reads 87 degrees out of the drawer in a cool kitchen) goes off after only 45 minutes. Call your sister and ask how to tell when a meatloaf is done. Press down on meatloaf after 1-1/4 hours with a fork and find that it feels firm. Remove from oven and place aluminum foil on top and let rest for 20 mins, trying not to take yet another fork taste from the side while you prepare side dishes.
I think meatloaf with only one meat is boring.
I made Mario Batali's jazzed up meatloaf (polpettona ripieno from Molto Italiano) a couple of months ago to great acclaim.
It has beef and pork and eggs and bread crumbs and pecorino and spinach and carrots and prosciutto and caciocavallo cheese and rosemary and olive oil. It's sort of a meatloaf formed around a filling and it's great. It's not much trouble to make either.