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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meat . . . Loaf . . . Meatloaf!

I made meatloaf yesterday.  Since it's only the two of us I made a small one using 1 pound of ground beef.  I know a meatloaf should be made bigger but even using a whole pound of beef meant half the loaf was leftover.  What to do with the leftovers?  I don't like meatloaf sandwiches and I was not confident I'd enjoy it reheated - and reheated leftover mashed potatoes are never my favorite thing.  Cottage pie to the rescue!

I know most people talk about Shepherd's pie but that, strictly speaking, is made with leftover roast lamb.  A similar dish made with leftover roast beef is known as Cottage pie.  Just sayin'.

I know there are recipes for Shepherd's pie that start with ground beef that is browned, things added, then assembled into the well knows dish with a mashed potato topping.  I make it a rule never to cook two meals when I will only end up with one.  Better to cook once and have two meals.  Thus my Shepherd's or Cottage pie is always made of leftover meat and mashed potatoes.

My sister confirmed that my leftover meatloaf would make a successful pie.  Here's how it goes.

Slice, cube and crumble cold leftover meatloaf into a lightly oiled casserole of appropriate size.  Moisten the meat with enough leftover gravy or juices just to make it moist - not wet.  If you don't have any leftover gravy add some tomato sauce and a little Worcestershire, or even ketchup and/or barbecue sauce.

Add any leftover vegetables you may have or add some canned or frozen (cook first) vegetables.  We want this to be a one-dish meal so go ahead and add plenty.  I like to make sure there is some corn and green beans.  Diced carrot is also good.  Use what you like or what you have.  Give it a stir so it's well combined, and spread it evenly in the dish.

Now plop some leftover mashed potatoes over the top.  Moisten your hands with water and smoosh the mash all over until it's evenly covered.   You want a layer about 3/4 inch thick or so.  (If you wish you can moisten the potatoes with a little milk first to make them easier to spread).  Take a spoon or a dinner knife and dollop little swirls over the potatoes as if icing a cake.  (Optional, some people like to mix a little shredded cheese into the potatoes - I do not - do what  you like best).  I dot a few bits of butter over the potatoes and sprinkle generously with paprika for a pretty color.

Pop your pie into a hot oven - about 375-400 f - for about an hour until the pie is piping hot throughout and the potatoes lightly browned on top.  Covering the casserole with a lid or a layer of aluminum foil will help it heat and prevent too much browning.

Serve your pie hot with a side salad, a little crusty bread or whatever you like best.

If you do not have any leftover meatloaf use any leftover meat such as roast beef or lamb, pot roast, steak even!  If you do not have a favorite meatloaf recipe here's one you can try.

Combine in a bowl about a cup of bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or crushed cornflakes with an egg and a small onion, finely minced.  Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper, a little cayenne pepper and some green herbs.  An Italian seasoning blend or poultry seasoning will do or you can add a pinch of oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley, you get the idea.  Add about a pound of ground beef (or a combination of ground beef, veal and/or pork) and mix well to combine.  Use your hands - the best kitchen tools for the job!

Spray a piece of foil with vegetable cooking spray and fold up the edges to form a rim.  Place this on a baking sheet and plot the meat mixture on it, shaping it into a free form loaf about 2 inches or so thick.  Smooth the top and pop it in a 350 f oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

While it bakes mix in a small bowl about a cup of ketchup or a combination of ketchup & barbecue sauce with a little more Worcestershire and/or soy sauce, some lemon juice and some molasses or brown sugar.  Or just use plain ketchup.  After the loaf has baked about a half hour start spooning the ketchup mixture over the top, repeating about every 15 - 20 minutes.  This forms a glaze that will be crusty in spots.  When the meatloaf is done turn off the oven and allow to rest while you finish preparing your mashed potatoes and gravy and other sides.  Enjoy and think about the meatloaf sandwich or cottage pie you'll be savoring the next day.

Quotable Quotes in the category It's Comfort Food But Is It Hip?

"The day that I ever become hip . . . please shoot me and put me out of my misery!"

Meat Loaf, Rock Musician

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