Former chef and central Maine jack-of-all-trades Tim Kenlan didn't create just one delicious recipe for us during "I Heart Meatloaf" month. If you're feeling more ambitious in the kitchen now that the Valentine's Day pressure has eased, try his recipe for shiitake mushroom meatloaf wrapped in asparagus and prosciutto with a Madeira gravy. We've dubbed it Lamborghini Meatloaf for its luxury and quick acceleration from the plate to your stomach. Enjoy!
Cooking note: Tim says this recipe may seem extensive, but it actually came together quite easily. In terms of degree of difficulty, he would call this medium because there are a number of steps, not that any of them is particularly difficult.
Prep time: 30 minutes; total cooking time: about 1.5 hours. Serves 4-6.
2 lbs Double Z ground beef
¼ cup quick oats
¼ Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¼ grated Romano cheese
5 glugs of Worcestershire sauce
S+P to taste (go easy on salt as the Romano adds a good salt profile, but it will need some additional salt)
16 oz (volume, not weight) shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and finely chopped
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp duck fat (can just use olive oil if one would prefer). Duck fat is available frozen in many grocery stores, including Shaw’s. We haven't checked Hannaford, but they may have it as well.
2 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
¼ cup Madeira wine (could use regular white wine or Marsala/sherry)
salt and pepper to taste
12-15 asparagus spears
1 package prosciutto (bacon would also work)
For the gravy:
Meatloaf drippings (after it has cooked)
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 ½ Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup Madeira
2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
For the parsnips:
2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut into evenly sized pieces (doesn’t matter what size, just even so they cook evenly)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ cup sour cream
1 Tsp white pepper
salt to taste
For the spinach:
10 oz baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Putting it all together:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large mixing bowl, add beef, eggs, oats, bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat duck fat (or olive oil) on medium-high heat until hot.
Add shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent and starting to brown.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add chopped shiitakes and cook until they’ve soaked up most of the juices (2-3 minutes).
Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and reduce (another 2 minutes or so).
Add basil and take off heat, set aside to cool slightly before adding to the beef (putting it in the freezer for a few minutes will do the trick if one is in a hurry).
Add the mushroom mixture to the beef bowl and mix with your hands (using gloves is a good idea) just until everything is incorporated evenly. Be very careful not to overmix, as this can cause the meat to become tough when it’s cooked.
In a roasting pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment or wax paper and coat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on the parchment paper (probably about 8 inches long by 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall? You can certainly make any shape your heart desires, so long as it will cook evenly, and I don’t recommend using a loaf pan as it adds time to the cooking and will severely dry out the meat).
Place the asparagus spears across the top of the loaf, pushing them in ever-so-slightly, but don’t cover them with meat. Then, place the prosciutto pieces across the top and sides of the loaf. It’s OK if they overlap slightly.
Place the meatloaf in the oven until internal temperature reaches 160° F, about 60 minutes. If you have a probe thermometer, that’s the best way, but if not, cook time was just under 1 hour.
Once done, take the meatloaf out of the pan and wrap it loosely in a sheet of tinfoil. Allow it at least 10 minutes to rest, as this will bring the internal temperature up a few degrees, and will also bring all the juices back into the meat and make it moist and delicious.
While resting, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a small saucepan on medium heat on the stove. Add the butter and melt it. Whisk in the flour and let it cook up slightly until it’s golden brown and bubbly. Carefully, and SLOWLY add the Madeira while CONSTANTLY whisking (if you don’t, it will clump up terribly). Then slowly add the chicken broth while constantly whisking so that you end up with a smooth textured gravy with no lumps. Whisk in the tamari and add some pepper. Taste for saltiness and add some if needed. Cook the gravy until it’s at your desired consistency, should be 2 or 3 minutes, then take off of the heat.
Peel and chop up the parsnips and add them with the crushed garlic to a small saucepan. Cover with water and boil until the parsnips are starting to fall apart (8-10 minutes, maybe less). Reserve about ½ cup of the boiling liquid, then strain the parsnips and garlic. Put the parsnips into a Cuisinart and give it a whiz. Add the reserved boiling liquid and whiz again. Add white pepper and sour cream and blend until smooth. Taste test and probably add a teaspoon or less of salt.
Heat butter in a skillet until hot. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook for a minute or two until the garlic starts releasing its flavor. Add the spinach (it looks like a lot, but it will cook down). Use tongs to move the spinach around to prevent burning. Add wine and allow that to reduce until the spinach is nearly fully wilted, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add the remaining clove of minced garlic and cook for another minute or so, then turn off the heat.
After the meatloaf has rested, slice it into desired thickness using a sharp carving knife. Serve on plate with parsnips and spinach, and cover with gravy.