Meatloaf with Carrots and Green Peppercorns
Today, I’m offering you something completely different! This dish is a sure winner with anyone in your household who is a “meat and potatoes” kind of person. This meatloaf is absolutely delicious, it’s easy to make, and it’s pretty enough to offer to guests who will subsequently marvel at your very impressive cooking skills. In other words, it’s a winner all around - unless you are vegetarian. Then, not so much. The dish is mostly beige with just about know notable color in it that strays too far away from the subdued color space. In order to make this meatloaf, you’ll need a 1-pound loaf pan or something similar! Ingredients: potatoes (appropriate for the number of people you are trying to feed - I use roughly 1 lb per person) ¾ lb. carrots
3 Tbs. salted butter
1 Chicago hard roll or a piece of baguette of about the same size (either one can be stale!)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ lb. bacon, chopped 1 ¼ lbs. ground meat (beef and pork)
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried thyme
white pepper, ground 5 tsp. green peppercorns in brine, drained.
1 cup chopped parsley, lightly packed 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup beef stock salt freshly ground pepper to taste
Let’s get started:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Peel the potatoes and cut in half. Add the potatoes to a large cook pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add ½ tsp. of salt. | Set aside for now.
Peel the carrots, slice in half lengthwise, and coarsely dice them. Add 2 Tbs. salted butter to a pan, turn to medium heat, and let the butter melt. Once the butter has melted, add the carrots and stir. Add ½ cup of water, stir. Stirring occasionally, cook the carrots for 10 minutes.
While the carrots are cooking, put the Chicago hard roll or chunk of baguette into a large bowl and add plenty of cold water so that the bread gets super soggy. Once it’s completely soggy, remove the bread and, using your hands, squeeze all the water out. Put the soggy bread back into the bowl. Add the chopped onions, chopped bacon, ground meat, marjoram, thyme, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. white pepper, two eggs, and 4 tsp. green pepper corns. Mix is all up until all ingredients are well incorporated. Grease a 1-pound loaf pan (or any other pan roughly 9x5 inches with tall sides). Add half the ground meat mixture and flatten so that it has equal thickness throughout the pan. By now, your carrots should be done - drain any remaining liquid. Add the carrots to the top of the ground meat and also distribute evenly.
Add the chopped parsley (all of it) on top of the carrots - again making sure everything is evenly distributed.
Now take the remaining meat and spread it on top of the parsley. With your finger or a cooking spoon, form a 1/2-inch deep indentation lengthwise on top of the ground meat. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp. green pepper corns into the indentation. Put the loaf pan into the oven and let bake for 50 minutes.
30 minutes into baking, it’s time to turn your attention to making the potatoes: Turn the potatoes that you had already set aside to high and wait until the potatoes come to a boil. Reduce heat so that the water gently bubbles. Let the potatoes boil for 20 minutes, drain, and keep warm by keeping a lid on them. Once the meatloaf is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, get started on the sauce: In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining 1 tsp. of salted butter over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add 1 tsp. flour and stir until there is no more dry flour left - you’ll end up with a roux. Add the beef stock and use a wire whisk to incorporate the roux and break up any solid parts. Now drain the juices from the meatloaf pan into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high until the sauce comes to a bubble. Stir, and immediately turn the burner off or remove the pan from the heat.
Carefully remove the meatloaf from the pan - because of the carrot layer, it has a tendency to fall apart if you are not careful. Some people report success by simply cutting the meatloaf while it’s still in the pan - but I find it impossible to remove individual pieces… Serve with the potatoes and sauce!