Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf with White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

As the name implies, this meatloaf recipe is all about simple, old-fashioned, downhome goodness—with a silky, savory, so tasty sauce to boot. Skip the ketchup and enjoy a little creamy, gravy-style topping with tender mushrooms. It’s easy to make and comes together in about 15 minutes.

Many cooks have their secrets for making moist meatloaf. I'll tell mine: milk-soaked bread. Simply tear soft, white bread (no crunchy crusts) into small pieces, place in a bowl, and cover with milk. Let it stand about 15 minutes to give the milk time to soak in, then squeeze all the excess liquid out of the bread and add to the meatloaf mixture. The soaked bread acts as a binder for the other ingredients and helps keep the beef and pork moist and tender during baking. 

I don't always take this step, sometimes using panko and an egg as the binder instead. But there's just something about that milk-soaked bread.  

I served a side of pan-browned potatoes with this dish, but mashed potatoes would be good too.

For a not-so-traditional meatloaf recipe, check out Tex-Mex Style Meatloaf with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce.

Serves 4

  • olive oil, for oiling baking dish
  • 1 cup torn, soft, white bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 lb ground chuck
  • 2/3 lb ground pork
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • pan-browned potatoes for serving (optional)
Torn Bread Pieces
Sliced Mushrooms

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 11 X 7-inch baking dish.
  2. Place the torn bread in a bowl and cover with the milk, pressing down to submerge. Let soak 15 minutes.
  3. Place the ground chuck, ground pork, and next 6 ingredients (through chile flakes) in a large bowl. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread cubes and add to the meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Use a fork to gently combine the ingredients. (Try not to overwork it—keep it light and airy.) Use your hands to form the mixture into about an 8 X 4-1/2-inch rectangle and place in the oiled dish.
  5. Bake uncovered until browned and just cooked through, 45-50 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Bread Beginning to Soak 
Soaked Bread
Mixture without Soaked Bread
Soaked Bread Added 
Mixed Ingredients 
Ready to Bake
Baked Meatloaf
  1. Meanwhile, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until completely dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter, swirling until melted. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and golden brown and the liquid is absorbed, 6-7 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remix the water and cornstarch and stir slowly into the mushroom mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
Mushrooms Beginning to Cook
Cooked Mushrooms
Wine Added 
Broth Mixture Added
White Wine-Mushroom Sauce
Cut the meatloaf into 8 slices and serve with mushroom sauce spooned on top. Serve pan-browned potatoes alongside, if desired.

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf with White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

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