Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stuffed Meatloaf- Dazzle your Guests!

Meatloaf is one of those dishes that evokes great memories of mamma's cooking and family gatherings!  I wanted to elevate the everyday meatloaf to special guest worthy status.  When I need fresh ideas, I often look up Mario Batali's recipes.  This stuffed meat loaf is based on one of his dishes... and will serve eight.  Thanks Mario!

2     large carrots, cut lengthwise into six slices
4     cups spinach, stemmed, lightly steamed and moisture squeezed out
2     lbs lean ground beef
2     lbs ground pork
2 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided
2     cups freshly grated pecorino cheese (about 200 gr)
6     large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3     tbsp all-purpose flour
12   thin slices of prosciutto (about 125 gr)
1/2  lb provolone cheese, cut into 12 1/8-inch thick slices
1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
4     sprigs fresh rosemary
2     cups dry red wine
1     cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the carrots until tender, about seven minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

In a large bowl, combine the beef with the pork, two cups of bread crumbs, the pecorino cheese, eggs, one tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Mix lightly (but well) with your hands.

Line a work surface with a 15-inch long sheet of plastic wrap.  In a bowl, mix the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.  Sprinkle half the crumb mixture over the plastic wrap.  Transfer half the meat loaf mixture to the plastic and press into a 12-by-10 inch rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick.  Lay half of the spinach over the meat, leaving a half inch border on the short side.  Arrange half the carrots over the spinach and top with half the prosciutto and provolone.  Now, begin thinking "sushi" roll - starting from the long end of the plastic wrap closest to you, tightly roll the meat loaf, tucking in the filling and using the plastic wrap to guide you.  Discard when done.  Repeat the process with a new piece of wrap using the other half of the ingredients, to make a second meat loaf.  Drizzle each loaf with two tbsp of olive oil.

Place the rosemary sprigs in the bottom of a broiler pan and pour in the red wine.  Cover with the broiler pan rack.  Set the loaves about two inches apart on the grate.  Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes.  Turn the broiler pan around and pour the water through the grate.  Continue baking an additional 35 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of each loaf register 165 degrees.

Transfer the meat loaves to a carving board and cover loosely with foil.  Discard any cheese from the bottom of the pan and strain the pan juices into a small saucepan.  Boil the juices over high heat until reduced to one cup, about five minutes.  Pour into a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Make it gluten free by using bread crumbs from a gluten free loaf of bread and chickpea or rice flour instead of all purpose flour.

Herbs- replace the rosemary with your choice of herbs- thyme, savoury

Wine or no wine- if you prefer "no wine", you could glaze the meat loaf with a brown sugar, cider vinegar and ketchup glaze mixture brushed on before you place the loaves in the oven.  Or you could experiment with replacing the wine with broth at the bottom of the broiling pan.


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