My Mom's other award-winning recipe

When it comes to ground beef, a mound of meatballs tucked into a nest of fettucine couldn't make me happier. Cheeseburger cravings come every month or so, and for those there's Shake Shack in the summer and Corner Bistro year-round. Pasta bolognese is another favorite and lately I've been making this lighter one from Emeril Lagasse or I'll go to Frank, Max or Poetessa to get my fix.

Then, there's meatloaf. My Mom never made it for me as a kid and I didn't mind one bit. Brown, bland and rubbery, a cake made of beef never really got my stomach growling.

But when I was 15, she saw an ad for The Great American Meatloaf Contest in The New York Times, and though she didn't have a family recipe to flaunt, she went right ahead and created one.

It might seem like my Mom's a recipe contest regular when in fact, she's only entered three in her life. The second you know about, and the third, she did not win. Which is really surprising because her stuffed tomatoes are goooood.

But for her first recipe contest ever, she won second place. And I met a meatloaf I could finally like.

First, she sauteed mushrooms with shallots, garlic, fresh thyme and sage before slathering them, along with some goat cheese, atop a dressed up mixture of ground veal and beef.

Unlike those meat cakes that other mothers slapped into pans that I usually used for brownies, she carefully rolled hers into a log and baked it like a loaf of bread. Each slice was thick and juicy with a melty mushroom and goat cheese center.

I still think when it comes to ground beef, I'll lean toward meatballs, a burger or a big bowl of bolognese first. But at least once a year, I'll get a sudden craving for meatloaf, and this is the only one you'll find me making.

My Mom's Goat Cheese and Mushroom Meatloaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems removed, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef round
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic, shallots and thyme, stirring once or twice, until tender, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and stir in the mushrooms. Cover and cook until mushrooms soften, stirring once, about 4 minutes. Remove cover, add sage, salt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and prepare the meat.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the beef and veal. Stir in the eggs, bread crumbs, grated cheese, ketchup, mustard, parsley, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Mix well. spread the meat mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper to approximately 9 inches by 16 inches, so when rolled it will fit nicely into a loaf pan. Spread the softened goat cheese over the meatloaf mixture, and spread the mushrooms evenly over the goat cheese. Carefully lift the waxed paper from the shorter side and using it as a guide, roll up the meat like a jelly roll pressing gently and peeling the paper off as you roll. Place the rolled meatloaf into a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with the seam of the meatloaf on the bottom.

3. Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It's best to put the loaf pan on top of a baking sheet to catch any juices that might run over. Let the meatloaf stand, covered lightly, for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 6 servings

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Anonymous said...

Sakes alive....that sounds fanTAStic! But then I am a good midwestern girl who grew up with drab meat slab in a pan, and later, upon divining her own culinary rules, made a meatloaf that smacked me upside the head with it's wonderful flavor. There is ALWAYS room for improvement! Way to go, Mom!

Anonymous said...

Wow - that looks like meatloaf to write home about. Thanks for the recipe! I love the idea of sauteed mushrooms in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Lia, seriously I think we would be nightmare friends - eating and talking about food all the time.

I too have serious burger cravings and LOVE good bolognese. Unfortunately the closest great burger place is in Seattle called The Red Mill, and of course Southern Cal - In –n- out.

But, shoot now I am craving both.

Thanks for being such a great food writer- I love it.


Lia said...

Way to go Mom is right, Kate!

You're welcome, Luisa. And the goat cheese and the mushrooms are such a good combination.

Lisa, you're too kind! I think we'd make fabulous friends especially because your Ruby Jewel Treats are one of my most favorite desserts ever. If only you sold them on the east coast!

benas said...

I haven't had meatloaf in years... it's not really something that runs in our family's traditions, but this recipe was so delicious-looking that I went ahead and made it today! It turned out to be the best meatloaf we've ever tasted... some oven-baked diced yams and beets went very well as a side-dish.

Thank you very much for a great dinner!

Lia said...

I told you it was good! I'll have to try it with oven-baked yams and beets on the side next time.


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