Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 6, 2011

Meat Loaf

Here’s a popular dinner time staple from the farm kitchen. It makes a bunch (so you can freeze one loaf, or have leftovers, or feed a darned hungry crowd). It tastes delicious. It relies on staples although the ingredient list is long. And there’s (no kidding) an easy vegan conversion on this one–which meat eaters assure me is so good they don’t care if it doesn’t have meat in it.

Sofrito is usually a sautéed base to sauces and other complex cooking out of Italy. I use one to make the loaves moist but not greasy. And it really does make the flavor stand up and sing.

You will need a food processor, and some lead time to assemble the loaves. But you may prepare any part/s you wish ahead of time. The vegetarian meat loaf recipe is below the original.

Meat Loaf

For the Sofrito:

1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 fat carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, washed and coarsely chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 medium hot peppers or 1 bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 slices raw bacon, chopped

2 TBSP Dijon or Spicy mustard

4 TBSP homemade ketchup, spicy ketchup or tomato paste

1 tsp Sriracha sauce, or other hot sauce (or to taste, or OPTIONAL)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried thyme, or 1 TBSP fresh thyme

1 TBSP soy sauce

2 tsp red wine vinegar

For the Meat:

1 slice bread

1/4 cup milk

2 lbs ground beef, or any ground meat combo you like (turkey or ‘meat loaf blend’ or chicken)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the sofrito ingredients into your food processor and whirl them around until you have a fairly uniform paste. Scrape this out of the food processor and into a large mixing bowl. Put the bread and milk into the food processor. Give these a good few pulses until they’re fully amalgamated. Now add the meat and combine it well with the bread-and-milk mush. Add the meat mixture to the large mixing bowl and stir it together with the sofrito until fully incorporated. Split the meat loaf into two pans. Bake for 90 minutes.

Or freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil over that for up to 3 months. Unwrap and bake without thawing for 2 hours at 350°.

Vegetarian Meat Loaf

For the Sofrito:

Omit the bacon

Omit the salt

Substitute 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar

Add 1/2 TBSP molasses

Add 1/4 cup olive oil (or a nice nut oil, or even margarine or butter) + 1 tsp dark sesame oil

Add 8 mushrooms, washed and trimmed and coarsely chopped

Proceed as instructed above.

For the “Meat”:

Omit the milk and bread

Substitute 12 oz cooked lentils de Puy (French lentils, or you can use German ones at a pinch) and 2 tubes of Gimme Lean (or similar) for the meat.

Add these directly to the sofrito in the large mixing bowl and stir and moosh everything together until you have a uniform mixture. Proceed as above.

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