I dedicate this recipe of the day to my friends south of the border, wishing you all an enjoyable 4th of July! I am having a productive streak this month on Graceful Cuisine; through all my busyness, I will always have time to celebrate special occasions. And with the summer heat finally hitting home, everything at the grocery stores just seems to come alive with colors, smells, and variety. When seasonal ingredients start to come in season, I always feel the lure of creating a new recipe.
This time I wanted to create something special, and I didn’t want to do a cliché of baking red, white and blue cupcakes. I know what you’re thinking; meatloaf has European origins and it is a traditional German or Belgian dish. However, it made its way into the contemporary American kitchen in the 19th century, and today it is comfort food to many. And nothing says made in the USA more than wrapping it with bacon!
I made this for a house party using sweet Italian sausage to stimulate the taste buds and French bed as the binding agent. You can use mild Italian sausage or something with more heat if you prefer to give it a kick, and if bacon makes you feel guilty, a simple garnish with ketchup works just as well. Needless to say, this loaf was devoured before any of my other main courses. The crispy bacon weaved around the hearty meatloaf was a wonderful addition to both texture and appearance.
Happy Fourth of July!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup white wine
4 oz sliced French bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 cup milk
2 lbs ground beef
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 oz bacon
Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, garlic, and mushrooms until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the white wine and simmer until almost dry. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm.
In a shallow dish, soak the bread cubes in the milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart (about 5 minutes). Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove excess milk. Finely chop and add it to the large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375oF with a rack in the middle.
Add the ground beef, sausage, and eggs to the bowl. Scatter the lemon zest and parsley over the meat, and then sprinkle the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper on top. Use your hands to gently mix all the ingredients until just combined, trying not to compact the mixture too much.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer the meat mixture to the baking sheet and use your hands to form it into a 10 x 4 inch rectangular loaf.
Layer strips of bacon on the meatloaf on the diagonal, covering the meat as much as possible. Trim the ends of the bacon, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold back alternate bacon strips halfway across the width of the meatloaf. Place a strip of bacon across, laying over the unfolded bacon strips. Return the folded bacon strips to their flat position. Repeat these folding steps, folding back alternative bacon strips and repeat the process until you have all bacon strips woven.
Gently tuck the bacon overhang under the meatloaf.
Use additional bacon strips, trimmed as necessary, to patch any uncovered areas.
Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads 160oF. Turn off the oven and preheat the broiler on high. Broil the meatloaf about 6 inches from the broiler until the bacon is browned and crispy (about 3 minutes). Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.