Sunday, 6 April 2014

Aunt Sally's meatbloaf

This dish is described as a true American Classic which is great served with mashed potatoes and ketchup. I've only made meatloaf once before (recipe from Nigella's Kitchen cook book) and that dish contained eggs, which was not to my liking. This version of meatloaf is stated to be old fashioned and was right up my street! I found the meatloaf to be hearty so it can be served for family gatherings and also can be made 2 days ahead if kept covered in the refrigerator. I didn't anticipate that this dish would take so long to make, so I would strongly advise you to make this dish over a weekend. I liked how the spinach added a speckled colour in the meatloaf and I ensured everything is well seasoned which enhances the flavour. Once the preparation is out of the way, which is easy and simple enough, you can let the oven do all the hard work. After around 1 and a half hours my meatloaf was baked.  As a lover of mince I was pleasantly pleased with how flavoursome the mince and bacon turned out. I served my meatloaf with rice and garden peas which is perhaps not the classic accompaniments, but worked well.
Baked meatloaf

Meatloaf and rice

Meatloaf and rice

Spinach cooking

Onions and mince added

Spinach added 

Eggs added


Meatloaf baked

Serves 4-6, Prep 25-30 minutes, Cook 1 - 1/2 hours
175g spinach
salt and pepper
375g streaky bacon rashers
2 eggs
6 slices of white bread
750g minced beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Prepare the ingredients
1) Remove the tough ribs and stalks from the spinach. Wash it well in a sink of water, then repeat, until all traces of grit and soil are gone. Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add salt, then spinach and simmer for 2-3 minutes, just until tender. Do not overcook, or the spinach will lose it's vivid colour and the flavour will dull.
2) Drain the spinach in a colander, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and retain the bright green colour, and drain again thoroughly.
3) Cut the bacon into tiny strips, reserving 4 neat rashers for the top of the meat loaf. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl until evenly blended. Trim off and discard the crusts from the bread. Work the bread slices in the food processor or blender, using the pulse button, until they form even crumbs, then tip them into a large bowl that is big enough to comfortably hold all the remaining ingredients.
4) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 Add the minced meat, chopped spinach, onion, garlic,  Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to the large bowl and mix.
5) Add the beaten eggs and lightly mix them in. To test for seasoning, fry a spoonful of the mixture in a frying pan until browned on both sides. Taste it and add more seasoning to the remaining mixture if necessary.
6) Transfer to a 23x13x7.5cm (9x5x3in), or 900g (2lbs), loaf tin, pressing it down and patting with a wooden spoon to smooth the top. arrange the reserved bacon rashers on top of the meat loaf.
7)  Bake the meat loaf in the heated oven for 1-1 1/4 hours, until a skewer inserted in the centre for 30 seconds come out hot to the the touch. Let it stand at least 10 minutes in the tin to reabsorb the juices and become easier to slice. Run a knife around the edge, unmould the meat loaf and cut into slices.


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