After what turned out to be a very hectic week last week, all I wanted to do on Friday was relax at home, and unwind by cooking myself a good meal. I decided that since it wasn't ridiculously hot out, I could try making an idea I've been playing with for meatloaf over the past couple of months. Basically, I wanted to do individual servings, complete with mashed potatoes, and greens. My original idea had concentric circles- a little round of meatloaf, potatoes around that and then the final circle of greens- most likely spinach. I got a little lazy on Friday and so I amended this slightly- individual meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and then this tomato based sauce with arugula over the top. Similar- and I am pleased to say- really good.
After work, I headed to Whole Foods to pick up the meats for the meat loaf. I like to combine a variety of different meats to give a really good flavor. So I got a third of a pound of ground veal, a third of ground pork, and the same of 85% lean ground beef. I also picked up a package of pepper rubbed bacon, some tomatoes, parsley, basil, and garlic.
Back at home, I cubed up about four tomatoes, layed them out on a baking dish and covered them with lots of parsley, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and then put them in the over under the broiler to roast them a little bit. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do with these tomatoes, but I knew I wanted them somehow. I love ketchup, tomato sauce on my meatloaf. I also started my lazy mans mashed potatoes, by cubing up red potatoes, skins still on, and putting them in a pot with cold water. About half way through making the rest of my dinner I turned on this pot to get them a boiling.
To get started on my meatloaf, I chopped up some onions, baby portabello mushrooms, and zucchini. I added the onions to a saute pan with a little vegetable oil and some thyme and let them cook over medium/low heat until they turned translucent. I then added the mushrooms and zucchini til the were cooked through. While they were hanging out, I combined the three types of meat in a bowl, added parsley, garlic, basil and one egg. I mixed these together, and then started adding bread crumbs til the mixture dried out a bit. Once the veggies had cooled a bit, I added them in, and then countered the additional moisture with just a little more breadcrumbs, and of course a little salt and pepper. Then i divided the mixture into five ramekins, topped each with two pieces of the peppered bacon and put into a 400 degree oven. They baked for about a half hour before they were ready to come out.
Meanwhile, I opened a bottle of Sam Adams Brown Ale, and added it to the saute pan I had cooked the veggies in, with just a teaspoon of butter as well. I allowed this to simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes or so, until I saw the liquid reducing, and the smell had concentrated quite a bit. Then I added my roasted tomatoes to the beer, and made a sauce from that, and some arugula that I added in last minute. The smell of this was amazing. It had a great herby tomato smell, and enhanced just sightly by the caramel of the Brown Ale.
The final step was just to mash up the potatoes with a little butter and cream, and dinner was ready. I laid out a little bed of potatoes, removed the meatloaf from its ramekin, and placed that on top. Then I spooned just a bit of the sauce on top of the meatloaf.
I have to admit-I used a bit too much salt- but otherwise I am really pleased with this meal. The mushrooms and zucchini added a nice texture and flavor to the meat, and sauce was delicious. This was my first experience with making a sauce from beer, and I really liked it. Ill definitely use it more often, I'm already starting to think of what else I can use with it...