Meatloaf with a fancy twist

I don't usually make meatloaf, but every once it a while I whip one up for Chloe and Steve. If you think meatloaf (the great American staple food of embattled housewives everywhere) is just a passe throwaway dish or yore, you are wrong. Meatloaf can be elevated to a level that is truly delectable.

Meatloaf is technically, and culinarily speaking a Pate, or a terrine of beef/pork/lamb/etc.. Usually in the USA we use ground beef, but you can use a combination of any good quality ground meat. defines a pate thusly:
[pah-TAY, pa-TAY]
French for "pie," this word — with accent over the "e" — is generally used to refer to various elegant, well-seasoned ground-meat preparations. A pâté can be satiny-smooth and spreadable or, like country pâté, coarsely textured. It can be made from a finely ground or chunky mixture of meats (such as pork, veal, liver or ham), fish, poultry, game, vegetables, etc. Seasonings and fat are usually also included in the mixture, which can be combined before or after cooking. Pâtés may be cooked in a crust, in which case they're referred to as pâté en croûte. They may also be cooked in a pork fat-lined container called a terrine (or any other similarly sized mold), in which case they're called pâté en terrine. Traditional parlance says that when such a mixture is cooked and served in a terrine, the dish is also called a terrine, and when unmolded it becomes a pâté. Today, however, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Pâtés may be hot or cold and are usually served as a first course or appetizer.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
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So you can see just how falsely maligned the now humbled Meatloaf of our generation, and the past several generations has become. When you make meatloaf please remember to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use the freshest and highest quality meat that you can find. Here is my take on meatloaf.  You'll notice the slightly elevated ingredients list and preparation method for this one. Please don't take shortcuts! Your taste buds (and those of your kids) will thank you!

Italian Rustic Pate (meatloaf)
2 Lbs. lean ground meat (sirloin, pork, lamb, turkey, duck, etc...)
2 Tbs. Tomato paste (or 1/4 cup ketchup)
1 Cup dried bread crumbs
1 bunch green onions-cut into fine rings
1 Clove garlic (about a teaspoon) crushed and minced
2 Tbs. each-fresh basil, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, and fresh Italian parsley-minced
2 eggs
1 tsp. Lawry's season salt (or season salt of your choosing)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese

Combine everything with your hands in a large bowl.

Roll into a log shape and wrap in parchment paper. Tie the ends off with butcher twine or twist off with tin foil. This keeps all the juice and fats in the meat where they will keep the meatloaf all moist and flavorful. If you don't have parchment, you can use tin foil lightly sprayed down with a bit of Pam (you don't need to spray the parchment).

Place on a wire rack wrapped in foil and perforated. Place the meatloaf and wire rack onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 300F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the center of the loaf reaches 180 degrees F.  Turn off the oven, and allow the meatloaf to cool in to oven for one hour. This enables the juices and flavors of the meatloaf to redistribute and settle before you slice into it.

Serve just warm with mashed potatoes and veggies of your choosing...YUMMY!


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