If you are not already hip-deep in cabbage and corned beef for this weekend while slogging green beer, permit me to suggest a deep dive into the land of meatloaf. I have wanted to take the Pot Lucky into meatloaf territory for some time and finally got the chance. For a while now, I have been hosting a curated and themed potluck where guests bring their version or contribution to the theme du jour. Instead of different sides to complement a meatloaf, everyone brought a meatloaf. Crazy, right? Or luuuuuuuucky?? Where potlucks have random cubes of Velveeta with frilly picks, the meatloaf Pot Lucky has meatloaf, meatloaf, and more meatloaf. Bring containers because you will feast for the week.
Not only did guests show up with some creative styles – chorizo/beef with queso and fresh cilantro – but also different shapes – spam & ham muffins, dosed with caramelized pineapple, Hawaiian-style. Despite a few common ingredients, there was virtually no overlap with the Maui Wowie Meatloaf. It was great to see different spins on a theme. Both were unique and both delicious. The Maui Wowie was beef and pork, with a secret ingredient ….”the stale remnants of mostly gone cracker boxes lurking in the pantry”. When you think about it, kind of brilliant – using all those random odds and ends in a recipe that calls for stale crumbs anyway. That’s Pot Lucky. We also had an old timey meatloaf with mostly beef and a little piggy, and I brought a Blue Plate Special with a healthy dose of shiitake mushrooms to add that unctuous umami.
Truth be told that was my safety loaf. I created a lamb and veal loaf….My Big Fat Greek Meatloaf….but it was a maiden voyage. I couldn’t be loaf-shamed at my own gathering, so had to have a tried and true as a backup. I have now made the MBFG loaf several times and it does not disappoint. Chock-full of herbs and a healthy dose of feta and Pecorino, this loaf is kept moist with grated zucchini and a combo of ground lamb and ground veal.
If you can’t get your butcher to freshly grind the meat, be sure to combine the two meats well and work in all the ingredients evenly. I find that the vacuum-packed meat tends to be a bit harder to break up. The loaf won’t hang together fully if the ingredients are not well dispersed which can make the end result a bit crumbly. Basic meatloaf recipes will most likely use meats that are easy to source fresh ground – beef, pork, etc., but I realize that veal and lamb can be harder to come by fresh ground. There is nothing wrong with the Cryovac packages, but just use a little elbow grease when blending by hand.
The best tip I got came with the Maui Wowie: put slices of bread under the loaf – whether in a loaf pan or on a sheet pan or shallow roaster – to absorb all the juices. That is one issue I have always had with loaf pans – the juices bubble up the sides and keep the meat poaching in the juice and fat. Not only do you not shed all the unnecessary fat, you don’t get a crust because the sides are submerged in liquid. When I made My Big Fat Greek Meatloaf again, I tried a roaster with the slices of bread underneath and it got a nice crust on the sides (the top is covered with a chunky tomato glaze) and the cheeses get a lovely toasted flavor. Simply leave the slices behind when ready to serve. Or sneak a bite of crust, just to make sure you aren’t missing anything. No one is looking.
This and a big salad are all you will need for a feast. I use a lot of herbs including dill, cilantro, mint and parsley. Adding fresh herbs to any salad really elevates the profile. Okay – I lied. You can’t have meatloaf without a big batch of my goat cheese and thyme mashed potatoes. Oh, and a big pot of green beans tossed with shallot butter. This is a meal worthy of 4 face plants. Yum. Yum. Yum and yum!
I hope you are dabbling in the Pot Lucky. Potlucks are so yesterday. Why have one meatloaf when you can have six? Are you with me? In case you missed it, past Pot Luckys are linked below.Print
Missed previous Pot Luckys, or don’t even know what a Pot Lucky is?
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