It is time to come clean with you; I love meatloaf. I don’t really get why many people tend to think of eating it as a chore or something to be gotten though, when it is really something to be cherished and savored. But, that being said I have also hidden my love from you, a little embarrassed by my love of something so seemingly boring.
Every time I make my slightly unique style of meatloaf, Phil encourages me to share it with you, and I finally decided he was right. In recent years books such as “Terrine” by Stephane Reynaud have shone a light on the rustic art of pate’s and terrines in many forms. I don’t like to dress my loaf up in bacon clothing and while pork tends to be the hot ingredient these days, I have chosen to make my meatloaf terrine out of beef. I grew up eating beef from my grandfather’s cattle farm, so pork was a rare guest on our table. To me, meatloaf isn’t a meatloaf unless it is made with beef. But, something I learned growing up on the finest beef is that it is vitally important to pay attention to the quality.
Now, I know not everyone has the time to grind your own meat. If that is the case, buy ground beef from a reputable butcher or have them grind your choice of cut for you. When it comes to choosing a cut, a lesser one is fine as long as it has plenty of fat. I used to use the leanest beef I could find for this, but it didn’t wow me until I decided to throw caution to the wind.
I used to make this dish by doctoring ketchup, but decided that if I really wanted to do meatloaf justice that I had to make my own. As for the seasonings anise and ginger, bring out everything that is good in any ketchup. I used anise seed instead of star anise because the flavor of the seed really compliments the ketchup and acts as a bridge for the ginger. It is as if they were made for one another and they compliment the beef beautifully. I opted not to use sugar like most recipes, in favor on using dried currants as a sweetener instead and I believe the dish benefits from that choice. I really hate using sugar when there is an alternative. In the loaf itself I used old fashioned rolled oats, which I think is very important. The oats plump beautifully in the juices while the loaf is cooking, making it not only delicious, but visually pleasing.
I hope you enjoy my meatloaf. Hopefully this recipe will help meatloaf earn the respect it deserves.
Ginger Anise Seed Ketchup
2 Yellow Onions, sliced thin
4 Garlic Cloves, sliced
2 cups Water, warm
1 cup Black Currants
6 oz. Tomato paste + a little extra if you like
3-4 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1/2- 1 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
Sea Salt, to taste
1 1/2 tsp Anise Seed, ground in your mortar and pestle
1 inch Fresh Ginger, skin scraped off and grated
Soak the currants in the water for several hours.
Caramelize the onions and garlic in a medium sized pot with a little olive oil over medium to medium low heat. Add in the soaked currants as well as the soaking water and tomato paste. Simmer until the currants and onions have broken down quite a bit and puree. Strain through a sieve and return to the stove. Add in the pepper, salt, clove, anise and ginger and simmer over low heat, checking for seasoning. Set aside while you prepare the meatloaf.
The Meat Loaf
2 lbs Fatty Beef, ground to manufacturer’s instructions or pre-ground from your butcher
2 cups Rolled Oats
1 Onion, sliced thin and caramelized
2-3 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp, Anise Seed, Ground in a mortar and pestle
1-2 tsps Freshly Ground Pepper
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups Ginger Anise Seed Ketchup + more for on the top
Preheat your oven to 350F
In a large bowl combine your ingredients and mix together very well using your hands. Remove to your chosen baking dish, patting down to smooth and smother the top with the Ginger Anise Seed Ketchup. Bake for 45 to an hour minutes or so, you’ll be able to tell the doneness from the way it pulls away from the sides of the pan and has a light crispness at the edges.
* I bought the eggs from a local organic farm, and I have to tell you that the difference is amazing! The yolks and huge and a bold yellow. I made gougeres with them the other evening and they turned out bright yellow as if I’d used food coloring.