I had a culinary epiphany the other day. The road to the perfect sausage, I thought, might be mapped out by first making meatloaf. I pondered the texture problem and concluded that if it works in a meatloaf, it should work in sausages. So I set out to push the envelope in meatloaf technology, and make one that is the sausagiest . I already consider myself a dab hand at making meatloaf. I like them because they can be made in many flavours. They are economical, versatile, delicious, and can feed me for a fortnight in many different servings from a full plate meat and vegetable meal, to a snack, a picnic ingredient, or cooked breakfast or sandwiches. Today I believe I may have taken another step towards the ultimate goal of the perfect meatloaf. I am very pleased indeed with this one. It has a fine bite to it, it is succulent and juicy, not greasy, and tastes magnificent, with a complex of subtle flavours. When cold, it can be sliced very thinly.
I have named it in honour of a character created by the greatest writer who ever lived. He wrote of food, and philosophy, morality and heroism and of the great joy and comfort to be found in wholesome food, small pleasures and good company. And of the need to get off your arse and make a difference in the world. If you don’t get the reference, there is still hope for you. Find out!
Many recipes say to mix the ingredients of meatloaf by squishing it all up with your hands. I do not hold with this. One should handle the ingredients as little as possible. I use my Kenwood with the dough-hook attachment. I tried the K bar first, but it tried to throw the ingredients out of the bowl. Even so, when preparing this sort of food, your hands should be scrupulously clean before you start and washed often as you progress. Trust me.
Mrs Maggot’s Magnificent Mushroom Meatloaf
- 1.5 cups of cooked whole button mushrooms; (sautéed in butter with garlic and a dash of soy sauce).
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, skinned and roughly chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 cup of rolled oats,
- 1/2 cup milk
- 500 g sausage meat
- 1 Kg lean pork and veal mince
- 200 g lean shredded bacon pieces
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- a few grinds of black pepper
- a teaspoon of curry powder
- a teaspoon of mustard powder
- a teaspoon of chilli powder, or to taste
- a teaspoon of allspice
- two tablespoon mixed herbs
- a good pinch of powdered bay (I dry some of my bay leaves and blend them to a powder just for this type of recipe – In other recipes, whole fresh bay leaves are best).
- a pan of fat left over after frying bacon for breakfast. Or a tablespoon of butter
- a dash or three of Worcestershire sauce
- a rasher or two of bacon to put on top
- Spray two non-stick loaf tins lightly with oil
- Preheat the oven to 170 C
- The mushrooms I used were left over from a previous meal, and refrigerated overnight. If you are cooking them just for the meatloaf, do it in advance and chill them.
- Lightly fry the rolled oats in the bacon fat, or butter, stir in the milk and salt and bring to the boil while stirring; leave to cool.
- Put the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well using a dough-hook.
- Divide into the loaf tins and top with bacon.
- Bake for one hour
- When the timer goes off, turn off the oven and leave the loaves for a further ten minutes.
- Remove from the tins. Drain on a rack over a plate.
- If not serving hot immediately, cool before covering and refrigerating. The juice that comes from the meatloaves can be frozen to be used as stock.