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Pork and Porcini Meatloaf

Pork and Porcini Meatloaf
  

We just completed our move to Portland and got my kitchen set up and now I'm learning to cook on an electric stove top (a situation that I expect to be temporary, but still, cooking has to happen every day)...so with all the changes and days full of activity related to the move and getting set up, my menu-planning has been running the gamut of comfort foods lately. Meatloaf, of course, is in the Comfort Food Pantheon, so when fortune brought a bag of ground pork into my kitchen a couple of days ago meatloaf was all but foreordained.

Friday night I helped my friend Joe take his first run at making sausage with his new food grinder attachment to his KitchenAid stand mixer. We bought more meat than we could handle in the time we'd allotted (the attachment worked well but it's slow going) so I ended up with a couple of pounds of ground Boston butt at the end of the session. This naturally led me to thinking of meatloaf, although with some seasoning the meat would also make nice sausage patties for breakfast.

Of course, the food police don't like what I have to say here, but the truth is that without adequate fat the most carefully seasoned and prepared meatloaf is dry and unsatisfying - hence the use of 75% lean ground beef and the addition of pancetta and bacon in this version. Also, though I don't think many would disagree, I should mention that cereal fillers, while lightening meatloaf if used in moderation, should be kept in control if you want a satisfying meatloaf. Panko is preferred to breadcrumbs or oatmeal since it gives a lighter, springier feel to the loaf without signalling its presence in any way.

This version made a nice Sunday supper, bringing all the satisfaction of a good plate of meaty stew, since it includes carrots, onions and porcini mushrooms simmered in red wine. Seasoned with fennel and Asiago cheese, the traditional flavor additives for Italian sweet sausage, and paired with roasted baby redskins and some Bok Choi Italiano, this meatloaf exactly hit the comfort food target!

Pork and Porcini Meatloaf

1-1/2 lb ground pork (Boston butt if you have a choice)
1/2 lb ground beef (75% lean)
4 oz pancetta
4 oz bacon
3/4 C hearty red wine
1 carrot, minced
1 onion, minced
1 celery rib, minced
1-1/2 oz dried porcini
1 C panko
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 egg
1 T salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 T flatleaf parsley, minced
1/4 C grated Asiago cheese
2-1/2 T fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced

For gravy:
2 C meat stock
3 T flour
salt, hot sauce, to taste

Cover the porcini with hot water and set out to soak for 15 minutes. ‘

Cut pancetta and bacon into chunks and place in food processor with a steel blade. Pulse several times to grind coarsely.

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to change color. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Slowly sauté the carrot, celery and onion in 2 T of olive oil, stirring. When they have been cooking for a few minutes, carefully lift the porcini from the soaking liquid (reserve liquid) with a slotted spoon and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until most of the liquid is gone. Pour the mushroom liquid through a fine strainer into the pan, leaving the last few drops and any grit from the mushrooms in the bottom of the bowl. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost gone. Remove from heat.

Combine the meats, panko, vegetable/mushroom mixture, bay leaf, egg, salt, red pepper, parsley, cheese, fennel seed and garlic in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands and then form into a loaf. Set the loaf in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350º oven until the internal temperature is 160º (depending on your oven and the initial temperature of your loaf this will take 3o - 50 minutes).

Allow to rest, covered in foil, 15 minutes before serving. If desired, make a gravy by cooking 3 T of flour slowly in 3 T of fat from the roasting pan, stirring, until it's a light brown, and then adding 2 cups of warm meat stock. Cook the gravy for a few minutes, stirring, until thickened and season to taste with salt and hot sauce.

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Comments

Welcome back..it's about damn time :)

Hi there Stephen,

Welcome back to the food blogosphere! Sorry to hear about electric stove (I am very particular about a gas stove too). But it looks like it's not stopping you from making excellent dishes.

Cheers,
-Helen

Welcome back Stephen! Glad to see you here again, you were missed. Quick question - I was thinking of getting the Kitchenaid attachment. Do you think it is worth it, or shall I just go with a traditional meat grinder? Cheers.

Welcome back, Stephen! I'm glad to finally see Stephencooks with a new post on Bloglines.

Besides this recipe looking great, I feel you about the electric stove. I've just moved to NYC and am subletting a place with no gas due to some inspection issue. I'm doing all my cooking with a two burner hot plate. So while I symphatize, I've got it worse. Ever reheated pizza by sauteing it? I have.

Looking forward to more blogging.

Yay! Welcome back, and I'm so happy to hear the move was successful. Isn't that electric stove something to get used to?

That meatloaf sounds fabulous- I never thought of using Panko IN anything, it's always a coating, what a great idea!

It is wonderful to have you back!

I checked your site daily, even knowing that no email reminders probably meant you were still out....

Very very glad the move went smoothly and you will be back in action!

Stephen,
It's about damned time. And meatloaf is a great start.

Tara,
If you already have a KA the grinder attachment is definitely worth it. I grind almost all of my own meat.

Welcome back! I've missed you, just don't tell the spouses.

The meatloaf looks awesome and sounds wonderful.

Now I can look forward to daily doses of food delight.

YAY Steven your back! Have seriously missed you blogging! Hope all went well with the move!

I'd like to join in the chorus of 'welcome backs', commiserate with the indignity of electric cooktop cookery, and let you know that your meatloaf may yet tempt me to try that dish. (Bad meatloaf experiences as a child have turned me off anything loafier than hamburger.)

Welcome back and congrats on your move! The meatloaf looks so comforting and yummy!

~Dianka
http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/

the meatloaf looks delicious! i'm happy for the new post. :)

Welcome back! I've really missed you and your inspiring recipes. I hope you've had time to get settled in. I've had to use an electric stove in our teaching demo kitchen because of Fire Dept. rulings...you CAN get used to it, but it doesn't mean you have to like it!

Lovely to see you back Stephen, your meatloaf looks and sounds very scrumptious indeed!

Squeals of happiness! You're back and that's fantastic!

Just a note to say that this recipe looked so delicious, I had to try making it for myself! Quite tasty, and the leftovers made great cold meatloaf sandwiches the next day (one of my favorite comfort food snacks!).

Found you the other night looking for a recipe to make a pork meatloaf. I had made 10 lbs of boudin blanc sausage w/ morel mushrooms with a friend and we ran out of sausage casing with about 2 lbs of mix left. I was inspired by your pork and porcini recipe and substituted my boudin mix and it was great. Enjoyed your website and blog. Will return. Thanks!

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