Meatloaf – the word either conjures childhood feelings of ickiness or complete comfort. Happily I fall in the later camp and the few times a month that I crave some beef this meatloaf is usually at the top of my go-to recipes.
I am usually fairly modest about my own creations but with this one, I have to crow just a little. The addition of portabello mushrooms really makes this loaf sing. The earthy, woodsy, almost smoked flavor of cooked portabellos combined with good grass-fed beef produces a juicy and luscious loaf that is light years away from any icky loaf you might remember from your childhood. Knowing my love of frugality and using up odds and ends from the vegetable bin, meatloaf is perfect on so many levels.
This was the first recipe with beef that I made after being vegetarian for 15 years, and while I cannot remember precisely why I decided to saute the vegetables first before adding them, I have stuck with that preparation ever since because it brings such an amazing flavor to the meatloaf. Use cremini mushrooms if you don’t have portabellos, but not white or button ones since they will not impart the same depth of flavor.
1 lb ground beef (grass-fed if possible)
1/2 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 carrot, minced
2 portabello mushrooms, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup bread cubes (or croutons or bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, combine milk and bread cubes (or croutons or bread crumbs) and allow to soak. In hot skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil and cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until it begins to give up its liquid but not dried up. Remove from heat. Add vegetables to bread soaking and mix in beef, egg, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Blend well (use your hands to fully distribute the ingredients evenly.) Bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.