Saturday, 7 December 2013

Easy Meatloaf and Mash with Gravy

I think every family has their own meatloaf recipe, sometimes passed down through generations. I like to fiddle with recipes though, and over the years have put this together to create my own meatloaf.

This goes nicely with mashed potatoes and a good rich beef stock gravy.

NanLT's Meatloaf

Nan's Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 500 gram Beef mince
  • 200 gram Pork mince  or 200 gram Sausage meat
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Capers drained and finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 whole anchovies, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (puree double concentrate)  or 1 tablespoon Catsup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup matzo meal or fine bread crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 - 6 slices smoked bacon (I like to use a dry cured smoked streaky bacon)

Instructions

  1. Mix the meats together. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the bacon.
  2. Form into 1 large or 6 small loaves. Place in a deep baking tray and cover with the smoked bacon. When I put the meatloaf into a casserole dish, I always make a trench all the way around the outer edge then drain off some of the fat half way through cooking.
  3. Cover with foil for the first 60 minutes.
  4. Bake at Gas Mark 6 (400f/200c) for 75 - 90 minutes, until completely cooked and juices run runs clear.
Maris Piper Potato

Mashed Potatoes 

For most, telling you how to mash potatoes is going to be like teaching your grandma how to such eggs. But, there are people who aren't sure how to make a good mash, and this is for them. 

Potatoes are not all the same

Different potatoes are better for different food dishes. To get a good, creamy mash you first want to start with a potato that mashes. My personal choice is a good all-rounder like a Maris Piper.

How many potatoes do you need?

Figure you will need one potato per person, plus one for the pot unless they are particularly large, or small. Then adjust accordingly.

Peel and cut into 1 - 1.5 inch cubes. Remember, the smaller you cut them, the shorter the cooking time.

Place the cubed potatoe pieces into a large pot - they need room so that the water can surround all of the pieces - and cover to an inch above the potato pieces with cold water. Add in a large pinch of salt and place over the heat.

How much heat?

If you're using an electric hob, you'll want a moderately hot setting. For gas flame hobs, turn the heat up high enough the flames just hit the outer edge of the pot base, without extending up the sides.

How long?
LIke I said earlier, the smaller the cube, the shorter the cooking time. A 1 - 1.5 inch cube takes between 10 - 15 minutes once the water comes up to a boil. Check after 10 minutes, and give it a few more minutes if necessary.

The best way to check for doneness is to try to push through a cube with the side of a fork or butter knife - if it slides through easily or breaks in half the potato is cooked. If you over-boil the potatoes, the mash will be wet. Under boil, and well your mash won't mash very well and you'll end up with lumpy bits.

Don't worry if you miss on occasion. I've been making mashed potatoes for nearly 30 years and I still misjudge the timing on occasion!


On to mashing
Mashing potatoes
Drain the water and leave the potatoes in the cooking pot.

Add in a knob of butter and a splash of milk, or for an extra creamy mash instead of butter and milk, use about 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream (real cream!) - called double cream in the UK.

Add a large pinch of salt and a few twists of black pepper from the pepper mill.

Give it a couple minutes if the butter needs to soften, then using a potato masher, go to it.


Beef Gravy

Okay, yes you could buy a carton of gravy ganules, mix with boiling water, and have a salt-laden beefy tasting gravy in 5 minutes.

But, you can have a really nice, rich beef gravy without all the added ingredients in the same amount of time using this method.

Bring a pint of breef stock up to a boil then reduce the heat to a very low simmer.

Mix 1 - 2 spoonfuls cornflour (corn starch) with a small amount of cold water, and stir to make a white liquid. It will all mix in, just give it a few extra stirs.

Pour the conflour water into the simmering beef stock and stir constantly until it thickens. Bring it back up to a low boil and continue stirring for 1 - 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and possibly a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

And there you have it. One delicious home cooked meal with meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Just add a serving of your favourite green veggie to round out the meal.