Last week I had a craving for meatloaf that was unstoppable. I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it to taste. I wanted savory meatloaf with a creamy mushroom gravy. I did my shopping on Wednesday on my way home. There was stormy wintry weather brewing. I could see it from the grocery store parking lot.
I bought all kinds of goodies to cook. I had already been to the local meat market and bought fresh ground beef, Oregon grown chicken breasts, and a pork loin roast. Then I went to the Farmer’s Market and loaded up on fresh produce (as much local and organic as I could) and my herbs and spices. I bought some seeds for doing sprouts. This will be a new endeavor for me. I have to find something to grow them in first. I am hungry for fresh, and also to see something growing! I am thinking of growing them in the window sill behind the stove, where I look out to the greenhouse area. Encouragement and motivation! This was my last stop before home. A bottle of wine and some dairy products and I would be on my way!
By the time I got home, unloaded all the groceries, started a fire in the woodstove, hauled numerous loads of wood up the stairs, put the groceries all away and finally felt warm, I was pooped. No meatloaf tonight. I pulled out some 4 Bean Burner Chili from the freezer and heated that up! Perfect food for a cold wintry night. When I went down to close up the coop, a mere hour after arriving home, there was 1/2″ of snow on the ground. I was home for the next 6 days. Cooking was going to be one of my areas of focus. But not tonight. I was heading for bed.
I woke up Thursday with another dratted headache and I was down all day. I was supposed to be house cleaning at the main house, but I couldn’t even get out of bed for the pain in my head and neck and shoulder. Dratted all! I scrounged around and heated up a slice of Quiche Lorraine from the freezer. No meat loaf again! I want this food so badly, my mouth just literally drools as it imagines the satisfying goodness of the flavors imagined! The snow flew off and on all day long. I was only out long enough to provide warm water for the girls, collect their eggs, and lock them up at night. Each trip down I hauled up a few pieces of firewood. It is a constant effort to keep the house warm.
Friday arrives, snow flying still. It is so pretty out here. I head to work…carefully picking my way across the frozen icy path to the main house. I am greeted by the dogs, barking and charging out the door to greet me. M&E are enjoying a late breakfast at the table as we all discuss the weather, keeping the fires going in the woodstoves, chickens, food…and my desire for meatloaf. I am determined to have meatloaf for my dinner I tell them. Savory meatloaf with mushroom gravy! Between lunch break, a break to feed the girls some oatmeal, and problems with the vacummn cleaner, it was 6:30 before I hopped a ride in the handy farm golf cart for a ride up the hill! I was pooped!
I stoked the fire, poured a glass of wine and sat down for a minute. The Christmas tree was still standing, fully decorated. And I had a house full of food to cook. And I NEEDED to have meatloaf. I put on some tunes, turned on the Christmas tree lights, and set out to fulfill my taste buds dreams! The chores would wait. But I could wait no longer for the object of my desire.
The picture of the finished product does NOT do it justice. But….the first bite! EXACTLY what I had been dreaming of. Now how often does that happen? A dream come true? Yes, for me, this combination and way of preparing meatloaf was the epitomy of what I had lusted after for days!
Here is the recipe as I recall it being put together. I am calling it Savory Meatloaf with Mushrooom Gravy (Gluten Free)
Heat oven to 350 degrees
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/4 c. ground tortilla chips
1/2 c. organic oatmeal
3/4 chopped crimini mushrooms
1 teas. worchestershire sauce
3 Tbspns cooked chopped bacon bits (something I keep on hand.Cook up 1 lb and chop, store in container in fridge for up to a month)
1 teas. sage
1 teas. rosemary
Mix all ingedients well in large bowl. Set bowl in fridge until gravy is ready.
1 1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbspns. organic unsalted butter
2 tbspns. oatmeal flour
1 teas. fresh rosemary chopped
1/2 teas. fresh ground pepper or to taste
2 cups beef broth
1/2 teas. worchestershire sauce
1/2 teas. kitchen Bouquet
1/4 c. cream
Heat butter in cast iron skillet. When just beginning to brown add mushrooms. Cook while stirring about 4 minutes on medium, then add garlic and cook additional minute. Add flour and rosemary and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until flour browns. Put worchestershire sauce and ktichen Bouquet in broth. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well to prevent lumps and scraping all the goodies off the bottonm of the pan. Keep cooking until gravy begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
Pour 1/2 the gravy into the bottom of a 9×9 pan. Form meatloaf on top of gravy. Pour the rest of the gravy over the top! Bake in preheated oven for about 75 minutes. Check after 60 minutes. I like mine done! I drained all the fat off into a aluminum foil bowl after removing it from the oven. The fat comes off but the yummy gravy tidbits stick!
I couldn’t wait for the roasted veggies I had prepared. I had to have a bite of that meatloaf. It smelled like I had dreamt it would. It looked pretty close to what I had envisioned (I think I would do this in a loaf pan next time). The taste test….PERFECT!!! I had done it! A meatloaf to write about! A meatloaf to make again. And again!
BTW…there are a couple packages of this in the freezer now, for days when I can’t cook and have a craving!!! And this is definately a meatloaf that lovers will crave!