Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Country dinner: Boil, squish, fatten, season, squish, fatten, eat.

My brother was up visiting us in the country this past weekend, and we couldn't resist making a gen-uine country dinner. We whipped up one of our favorite nostalgia-filled comfort foods which my mom used to make when we were kids: Bill Blass' Meatloaf. I'm not sure how Bill Blass came to be the authority on meatloaf in our house, but he's the guy we turn to in our time of need...

Check out his recipe below... It's a cinch.


Ingredients:

Servings:

8
Units: US | Metric

Directions:


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350F degrees; oil a 8x4 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. 2
    In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, saute the celery and onion in the butter until soft; remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. 3
    Add the meats, parsley, sour cream, bread crumbs and spices to the skillet. 
  4. 4
    Whisk the egg with the worcestershire sauce and add to mixture.
  5. 5
    Using a wooden spoon or your hands, combine the mixture and mold into a loaf shape.
  6. 6
    Place the meat loaf in the prepared pan; top with the chili sauce, then the bacon slices. 
  7. 7
    Place on a cookie sheet-- to catch any drips-- and bake until cooked through and browned, at least 1 hour.

I'm gonna tell you-- I don't think I've seen my brother get as excited about anything recently as he got about the prospect of meatloaf. Literally jumping up and down. He's 32. 

We combined the meatloaf with some roasted acorn squash and "messy" mashed potatoes, and we were in business. "Messy" mashed potatoes are fundamentally the same as "dirty" mashed potatoes (potatoes mashed w/ the skins on), which are basically the same as "regular" mashed potatoes (potatoes mashed with the skins off), except we bought little tiny yukon gold potatoes, and used those so that the skins weren't too thick and coarse, and then yummy rich flavor of the yukon golds get to stand out more and the "dirty flavor" of the skins is less present. Mmmmm...

That recipe is pretty straight forward: 

-Boil potatoes (we bought a 2-lb. bag and that made enough for 6-8.)
If you're using bigger potatoes, cube them before you boil them to reduce the cooking time and to ensure that they all cook more evenly. 


-While they're boiling, check to see how they're progressing. You don't want or need to over-boil them, so John and I check to see if they are cooked using a cake tester. This is a great trick, and worth buying one for a lifetime of perfectly cooked potatoes. Once you can easily poke them with the tester, and the tester goes smoothly in-and-out, they're ready. Check a couple different potatoes, just in case you found a rogue softy.

-Once boiled, strain. Let cool for a minute, so they're not too hot to handle, and then plunk them into a big bowl.

-Squish a little with a potato masher, or whatever your preferred mashing device is (Fork? Meat tenderizer? To each their own...) and then add a generous scoop (maybe 1/2-3/4 cup) of something creamy. We used reduced-fat sour cream because we had left-overs from the meatloaf recipe, but yogurt, butter, or straight-up cream will all do the trick, depending on how vigilant you are about not having a heart attack.

-Add a good amount of salt & pepper, and mash again. At this point, I usually add another dose of "something creamy", because I like my mashed potatoes more moist and creamy (fatty) and less dry (healthy), but again-- to each their own.

-And that's really it. Boil, squish, fatten, season, squish, fatten, eat. When you put it that way, those are some super simple potatoes!


It was country-time-delicious! 

Two last notes: 
1.) Don't invite too many people over to eat this meal. You are GOING TO WANT LEFT-OVERS. Leftover meatloaf sandwiches are the real reason one makes meatloaf, so don't share with too many people or there won't be enough for the day after. : ) 

2.) Despite how tempting it might be to eat the bacon on top of the meatloaf, DON'T. I don't know why. I think it gets hyper-infused with fat and chili sauce and some crazy-outer-space-fusion happens and it just becomes gross and ├╝ber-fatty. It will make you feel unwell. It did make my brother feel decidedly unwell.  Trust me. Don't eat it. 

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