Monday, April 28, 2008

Rhapsody on a Meatloaf

Asian Mini Meatloaves

Ahh, meatloaf- that most indefinable of foods. You can put damn near anything in a meatloaf. Sadly, for most of us, meatloaf brings to mind public school mystery meat, frozen Salisburg steak TV dinners, and the unfortunate slab of greyish animal product you ordered at the Cracker Barrel on last year's vacation. All too often it leaves you feeling as though you just ate an anvil. Alas, poor doesn't have to be this way.

How does one keep a meatloaf from turning into an inedible brick'o'meat? The trick, as I learned from my mother, is to put things besides meat in your loaf. She mixes in a healthy dose of bread crumbs for hers, which are not only edible but quite tasty. Adjusting the seasonings, she makes an Amercian-style meatloaf with Worcestershire sauce and beef gravy, or an Italian variation topped with tomato sauce, like an enormous oblong meatball. Mmm...oblong meatball...

Being that I'm all young and rebellious and whatnot, I said "Why not put other things- craaazy things- in the meatloaf?" Crazy things like water chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots. And why not instead of one big loaf make smaller, personal sized loaves? Woo! You can't stop me, mom! I'm outta control!!!

Asian Mini Meatloaves

1 lb ground beef

1 small can water chestnuts, chopped

1 small can bamboo shoots, chopped

2 eggs (take out yolks if you're health-conscious)

1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped

1 tbsp shallot

2 tbsp scallion

1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp kecap manis

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp black sesame seeds

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns

Preheat oven to 375. Whirl the vegetables in a food processor, or chop very fine. Mix together with seasonings, add meat and egg and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Roll into softball-sized loaves and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until done. Serve with steamed vegetables and rice.

1 comment:

adele said...

I like this idea! I'll bet they'd make good dumpling fillings, too.