Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fresh-ground meatloaf is good enough to steal

A few posts ago, we at A Book of Cookrye tried grinding our own meat to see if, like all those foodies say, it really is so much better that way. However, since we seasoned the hell out of those meatballs (if that wasn't a quarter cup of peppercorns it wasn't far off), we could have gotten away with mechanically separated squirrel. So the meatballs were really good, but not the best way to test this whole grind-it-yourself-it's-so-much-better thing. But big slabs of unground beef are so expensive, so it was going to be a while.
Expensive for all those people who pay full price.
So, we at A Book of Cookrye decided to make something considerably less seasoned so we can taste whatever difference there may be. Also, we are going to try something most meatloaf people will gasp at: no breadcrumb filler. I've heard people be dogmatically insistent you can't make meatloaf without it, but if I'm about to bake a big meat log, I don't want anything getting in the way. Meatloaf here at A Book Of Cookrye is not to be adulterated.

Note: I made twice this because I really like meatloaf.
2 pounds ground beef
1 box mushrooms
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 clove garlic
1 egg
Spaghetti sauce or ketchup for top

Heat oven to 350°. Press or mince garlic. Finely chop mushrooms, or just put in a blender with the egg. Mix everything together, shape into a loaf in a 9x13 pan, cover with sauce, and bake until a meat thermometer reads 160°. (Mine took about 1½ hours.)

 I think meatloaf is really underrated these days. It's a massive slab of ground meat! How could anyone not like it? Granted, the fact that it ends up looking like this doesn't help.
Things that are this delicious don't need presentation.
But honestly, it's an amazing thing to eat. And assuming you're not grinding everything yourself, it's really easy.
It's also a great way to use up vegetables you forgot you froze.
For once demonstrating an ability to plan ahead, I'd put the meat in the refrigerator the day before. When I got it out to cook, it was still a solid ice block. Patient people might set it under running water; I didn't.
I don't have a plate that big, and it's no harm if you wash the platter afterward.
I have previously discussed my preference of using newspapers as cutting boards, and in full disclosure, I will say that often the paper sticks to your food when you're cutting it up.
I have occasionally found newspaper in my supper, but I figure it's fully cooked.

Since I can't set a bowl under the grinder, I decided to just set the baking pan under it to catch everything.
One box still-frozen mushrooms.
Then, just before I put everything in the bowl, I thought "Why bother?" and decided to just mix it in the pan.
That blackish stuff is mushrooms.
At this point, I'd like to point out that 1) that's a lot of meat  (wheeeee!) and 2) there were still ice crystals.  Every 15-30 seconds I had to stop mixing it so my fingers could warm back up.
Eventually, we got to this point.
I could have stopped here and sold it for $45 a plate.
After taking this picture I was like "Wheee! Smoosh meat!" and had fun with the squishy meat Play-doh--- I mean, noticed that it wasn't thoroughly mixed in some places. At some point I realized I was starving, so I reshaped it and decided spaghetti sauce would be tastier on top than the more commonplace ketchup.
If I keep making things that look like this, I'll have to open a restaurant and offer steep discounts to people who come in with proof they have severe vision problems.
Anyway, it baked for a long time. I mean a long time. But that's all right, there were amusing videos to watch as I waited, including what I think is the cutest clip in the history of music in film:

Seriously, I love this clip. That's Laurence Olivier (who you may remember from those stuffy Shakespeare films your teacher made you watch in English class) inexplicably annoyed by a beautiful woman  (who apparently brought her own karaoke records) singing to him.

As you can see, there was some shrinkage.
So now, I can finally answer the question from last time we tried this: Holy crap, is beef you grind yourself better. It was totally worth the 37 minutes (yes, I did clock it) I spent cranking it through the grinder. The beef actually had flavor to it- most of the time ground beef tastes like whatever you seasoned it with.
Also, if you leave out the bread filler, this will leave you feeling stuffed for hours. I only had the heel and I was full until sunrise. Also, the bread's not there to soak up the drippings and fat, so they run right out and leave you with nothing but tasty meat.
You may not think this is a convincing argument, so I'll add what happened to the leftovers. Well, I'd wrapped it in foil and left it in the downstairs refrigerator. Usually, no one steals anonymous leftovers- it's the processed crap with bright logos that gets pinched. However, my meatloaf mysteriously vanished within a day. Curse you, thieves! Don't make me put Fancy Feast burritos in the fridge!

No comments:

Post a Comment