Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Night Haramfest for May 9th, 2008

Comfort Food for yet another rainy weekend in Lancaster County.

Meatloaf is one of those dishes you want to change around and amp up once in a great whiile. Most children hate meatloaf, but I quit trying to make them eat it a long time ago. They manage to survive these cold nights of self-induced starvation, thanks in large part to cold cereal, and still it gives me pleasure to watch them sulk while the old man and I indulge our adult tastes.
So tonight it is Meatloaf Wellington, which is a meatloaf, layered with mushrooms and onions and stuffed into a puff-pastry.

There are two parts to this dinner. Baking the meatloaf first, which should be done earlier, and then the prepping of the mushrooms and onions, and finally wrapping a store bought puff pastry around it and baking it again. Sigh. Don't you kids just wish your taste buds were as sophisticated as your ma and pa's are?

So, let's get started:


2 lbs. ground beef (80%/20% ratio)
1 can French Onion soup, undiluted
2 slices of bread or else 1 cup of bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce or good steak sauce
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp Dijon mustard or horseradish
1 lb. bacon, cooked and then crumbled
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg + water, for egg wash
1 large yellow or Spanish onion
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
bacon fat or butter for sautéeing

Whisk onion soup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and eggs together. Add breadcrumbs and mix. Add ground beef and crumbled bacon pieces and form into a nice loaf.
Bake for about 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove to a rack and let cool.
Meanwhile, sauté onions and mushrooms and thyme in some bacon fat or butter until they are completely caramelized. Add a dollop of steak sauce or cognac if you would like, and cook until liquid is rendered out.

After meatloaf has cooled for about 15 minutes, you can begin rolling out the pastry, until it is long and wide enough to cover the meatloaf.
Put some of the mushroom and onion mix in the middle of the pastry and place the meatloaf on the top. place the rest of the mushrooms and onions over the top and sides of the loaf, and then fold pastry over the top of the loaf. Pinch seams to get a good seal and place seams side down on a parchment lined cookie pan. Brush egg wash over the whole schmegiggle.
Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, until it is a lovely golden brown. Serve with a nice brown gravy...and go ahead, use the packets.

I am making mashed potatoes...and I have a myriad of recipes, but the long and short of it is Russets. Use baking potatoes for very light heavenly potatoes. A stick of butter and half and half and a dash of salt, pepper an nutmeg make for incredibly light, float up to your mouth taters. And finally, the husman's favorite: Steamed spinach. Yes, it's Friday night, the most sacred night for eating out or having a pizza delivered, but I am feeling a tad ambitious, so it's this. And if the kids don't like it too bad.

You think I am heartless and mean? Do you have kids? Do you not remember the endless, relentless demands to read YET AGAIN Dr. Seuss' insanity inducing books? How many times can a parent read the Cat in the Hat, or worse, Green Eggs and Ham....where virtually Every Single Line is Repeated on the NEXT PAGE IN ADDITION TO THE NEW LINE?

Not to belabor the point, but kids can drain the creativity right out of you. Eating something good that the tykes usually turn their snot-filled noses up at is fine on Fridays as far as I am concerned. Let Them Eat Twinkies.

I am not the only parent who feels this way, obviously.


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