I miss my mother. I do not miss her cooking.
Sure, I remember dishes she made well, and even make some of those to this day. One example would be the dish of okra, tomatoes and hominy baked with a layer of bacon. We kids called it the "Someone's Dead" casserole as she only made them to take to grieving families. Another would be the avocado and citrus fruit salad with sweet and sour onion dressing she made at Thanksgiving.
In all honesty, however, she didn't like to cook and the results showed that. Her meatloaf was an excellent example. She combined ground beef with a pouch of Lipton onion soup mix, made a loaf and painted it with ketchup. Then she cooked the life out of it. We always cut the leftover loaf in slices before we refrigerated it because otherwise it would have taken a chain saw to cut it.
This blog post is not her recipe. The recipe is my own, and the result of years trying different recipes from various sources and then changing things.
4 pounds Boston Blend ground meat (60 percent beef, 40 percent pork)
1 large yellow onion, diced very small
1 carrot, diced very small
1 stalk celery, diced very small
1 small bell pepper, diced very small
6 golf ball size baby Portabella mushrooms, diced very small
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6 or 7 slices thick sliced bacon
seasoned salt and pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce*
Set the oven to 375 degrees and place the rack on the low middle level.
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, mushroom, and garlic. Lightly salt the mixture to encourage the juices to exude. Saute the mixture slowly until the vegetables are well cooked and beginning to dry out. Take the saute pan from the heat but leave the vegetables in the pan and allow them to continue steaming as they cool.
Combine the meat, panko, sour cream, egg, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper. I use around a Tablespoon of seasoned salt and two teaspoons of ground pepper. Mix well with your hands until well blended. Add the vegetables while still warm but no longer hot. Mix them into the mixture by hand. Try not to compact the loaf too tightly. Form a long loaf and place it in a foil lined roasting pan.
Paint the loaf with the barbecue sauce. Use the bacon strips to cover the loaf from end to end.
Roast the loaf to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. The cook time will be around 80 minutes. By then the bacon will be dark brown and cooked, although not necessarily crisp since it sits on the sauce.
Allow the roast to rest for 15 minutes while plating the remainder of the meal.
May I suggest twice baked mashed potatoes and mushroom cream gravy?
*Easy homemade Barbecue Sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup industrial grade maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Adjust the maple syrup vinegar amounts to suit your sweet and sour prefernces then add
salt and pepper and sriracha to taste.