Dark Days Week 10 (?): Comfort Food (part 2)

Still no pictures, as my small camera is full and I am still too scared of the new big fancy camera.

We have been talking for years about making meat loaf, which Garth remembers fondly from his childhood. But his mom used the recipe from the back of the Quaker Oats box, and I wanted to do something a bit closer to home. I looked around a bit for recommendations, then mostly made it up as I went along, using what was on hand. I did have to compromise a bit though as he was not willing to give up the ketchup on top.

The mostly-local part: the loaf.

I caramelized some onions for a long time in butter (organic, co-op, non-local). When they were nice and brown I put a bottle of Pike Pale Ale, brewed at Pike Brewing, and let it sit on low heat for a while, just barely simmering, then dumped in the remains of a freezer bag of home-ground bread crumbs so they could get moist before mixing, to keep them from drying out the meat loaf.
While that was happening, I grated a giant carrot from the garden in the food processor, as well as a few cloves of garlic. I removed two Skagit River Ranch sausages from their casing and put them in a bowl with two pounds of ground beef from our cow. The beef is pretty lean so I also melted a spoonful of home-rendered lard from a local pig.
I carefully mixed everything together in a big bowl, stirring with a spatula instead of kneading with my hands, as I read that kneading dries it out also. I also added two little eggs from our hens as a binder.

Onion, garlic: Laughing Crow Farm, Bainbridge Island
Beer: Pike Brewing, Seattle
Eggs, carrot, thyme: the yard
Ground beef: from our quarter cow, raised by On the Lamb Farm in Arlington
Pork Italian sausage: Skagit River Ranch
Lard: home-rendered from a pig grown on Bainbridge Island
Bread crumbs: the last of several months’ worth of home-ground crumbs from both home-grown and store-bought bread, kept in the freezer

On a silpat-lined sheet pan (with edges!) I shaped it into one small loaf of about 1/3 of the meat, for dinner, and one large loaf, composed of the rest of the meat, for future sandwiches. Following Alton’s instructions, I put it all in the oven at 325° and set the timer for 10 minutes.

The not-local-at-all part: the glaze.
In my favorite tiny cast iron pan, I mixed the following:
Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sriracha, and I don’t even remember what other things, all from jars of indeterminate origin. Oh, and a little bit of local honey from Pike Place Market.

Alton said to brush the glaze on after it had been cooking for ten minutes, so I did. I did it again a little while later when I checked on the temperature. The little loaf hit temp first, of course, so we took it out and served it up while we waited for the big one to finish.

My verdict: Yum! Not dry at all — plenty soft and flavorful.
Garth’s verdict: “Not much like my childhood meatloaf. It was better. It tasted like food.”

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to come between him and his ketchup, though.

  6 comments for “Dark Days Week 10 (?): Comfort Food (part 2)

  1. FunkyManT
    January 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Perhaps the only thing I ever agreed with Ronald Reagan about is that ketchup is definitely a vegetable! It is also one of my favorite foods of all time. My favorite ever was a brand we got when we lived out east called Uncle Dave’s, but I don’t think it’s still produced.

    I would looooove to try your meat loaf (with ketchup).

  2. Leigh
    January 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Home-rendered lard… now there’s something that’s not just in any old kitchen!

  3. January 27, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Funny on your husband’s reaction and love of ketchup. Is he up for trying homemade ketchup? I do understand – a certain member of my family has a love for *one* brand of ketchup and all others pale in his eyes. Oh well. Making up a dish as one goes along that comes out like yours did is a success in my eyes.

  4. January 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    FunkyManT: Hello! Come have meat loaf anytime. We’ll leave out the bread crumbs :)

    Leigh: it’s actually really easy to render lard (or duck fat, etc) it turns out — you just put it in the crock pot and leave it until it’s all melty. We don’t use it very much of course, but it’s nice to have a little bit when you need it.

    Mangochild: We have tried homemade ketchup. Foodie friends Anne & Ryan (http://www.eatingsmallpotatoes.com) have tried a couple of different recipes of which we have been able to partake. I haven’t looked into it myself but I’ll try it someday, I’m sure. Do you have a recipe?

    We have at least moved on to organic ketchups without high-fructose corn syrup, so that’s something.

  5. hollind
    April 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    i would love to purchase eggs from you. how do i find you? thx!

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