Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meatloaf , The Industrial Revolution & The "Meat Porcupine"

Meat: (n)   Nourishment; food
Loaf:  (n) A shaped, usually rounded or oblong, mass of food
Meatloaf.  Meat.  Loaf.  Meatloaf.

As a child, this was a word that made my stomach sink.  When told we were having meatloaf for dinner I immediately thought....what have I done wrong?  Why am I being punished?  Had they found out I made a D in Social Studies ...again?

I mean, come on, who says "Awesome!!  We're having meatloaf for dinner!!"  or "We have to stop playing Barbies with the Barbie Jeep, Barbie Townhouse and Barbie Jet because I have to hurry home for meatloaf!"  or "Meatloaf!  Wow, I must have done something really, really, really good to deserve meatloaf for dinner - it's like Christmas has come early this year!!"  (and it's the month of May)

Could the higher powers not have at least come up with a more enticing name than meatloaf to fool us innocent kids?

Parents have been fooling kids since the 19th century with meatloaf.  The Industrial Revolution made it possible for ground meat to be manufactured and sold to the public at a low cost.  A 19th century recipe by the name of "Meat Porcupine" told cooks to ground their meat and mold it into an animal shape that they were to decorate with pieces of ham and bacon so it looked, well, so it looked like a porcupine.  We can all thank the "Meat Porcupine" for Americans incorporating ground meat into their meals.

Chris came into the kitchen a few minutes ago, opened the refrigerator, and turned around grinning like a kid in a candy store who had a $100 bill in his pocket.  (remember, we went into FRANTIC mode at the grocery store yesterday due to the impending snow)

Still grinning, he asked "What are we having for dinner?"  I replied, "What would you like?  I'll make anything you'd like. How about meatloaf?"  Silence.  Not just silence.  Silence like the kind of silence when you're taking the SAT.  Silence like the kind of silence when you're a child sitting in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa Claus to come falling down the chimney with all 200 presents on "your list."  Silence like the kind of silence in a dentist's waiting room.

I looked up and the grin had disappeared.  Instead, I was looking at a broken man.  Head down.  Shoulders hunched.  I couldn't help myself.  I started laughing.  Chris said, "No thank you.  I'll just make a cheese sandwich."  "Chris!, I said, my meatloaf recipe is really good!"  Chris looked at me like I had told him I just spent $5,000.00 at Zappos.  That would be a look of utter shock and disbelief.

Have I mentioned my Dad told me, has always said to me, "Lisa, your head is as hard as a walnut."  Well, we all know that's pretty darn hard!  I think you get my point!

Well, that was it!  I decided we were having meatloaf.  Not only were we having meatloaf for dinner tonight, we were having meatloaf that was so good the next time Chris was looking at a menu in a restaurant and considering the Osso Buco or Filet Mignon, he'd suddenly pause and ask our server, "Do you serve meatloaf because I love meatloaf!"

I'll let you know if I've converted Chris from meatloaf hater to meatloaf lover tomorrow.  In closing, two things:

(1) I want to thank the Industrial Revolution and "Meat Porcupine" recipe for making meatloaf possible.
(2) My meatloaf recipe is below!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~  A Girl Cook


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 package andouille sausage (diced or cut into chunks - whichever you prefer)
1/2 yellow onion (diced or cut into chunks - whichever you prefer)
4-5 turns of fresh cracked pepper
4-5 good shakes of extra light olive oil (more if you need it)
1 green pepper (seeded & diced)
1 large chunk of feta cheese (crumbled)
2 large handfuls of grape tomatoes (diced) or 1 large vine ripened tomato
sea salt - to taste (I'm a salt gal)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 large handful of parsley (torn)
1 cup breadcrumbs (my breadcrumbs are bread I toss into a food processor and freeze for later use)
1 egg
1 can Rotel (whichever heat you prefer)
4-5 slices peppered bacon (you can also use turkey bacon)
catsup (to coat the top of the meatloaf)

Place the fully cooked andouille sausage, onions, fresh cracked pepper, extra light olive oil, green pepper, grape tomatoes, sea salt and garlic into a pan - turn to medium heat.  Sautee the ingredients until the sausage appears golden-like (about 3-5 minutes - stirring often). Toss the ingredients into a colander to drain any excess olive oil off

Place the drained ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the ground beef, feta cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs and egg (mixing with your hands until all ingredients are mixed evenly) and shaped into a loaf.  Wrap each piece of  bacon around the meatloaf with the open ends underneath the meatloaf to secure them.

Pour the can of Rotel (with 1/2 the liquid drained) in a dutch oven or pan sprayed with PAM.  Evenly coat the top of the meatloaf with the catsup.

Bake, covered, at 325 degrees F for 1.5 hours or until done / no longer pink with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Check the meatloaf after an hour to see how it's progressing to see if you need to adjust your time.  In my experience, all ovens cook differently.  

Always "Push The Parsley!"
 ~ A Girl Cook

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