I love cooking with mince meat. There are just so many ways you can manipulate mushed up meat. The best part I reckon is the fact that it slurps up all flavours, which means unless you are a total flop at seasoning, mince meat dishes are usually taste guaranteed.
I’ve done meatballs, patties, burgers, cooked in sauce…I’ve steamed, fried, boiled and baked them. The one thing I haven’t tried was to make a meatloaf. My pre-conceived idea of a typical meatloaf is usually one obtained from a greasy diner, smothered in ketchup. That very image didn’t quite appeal to me. So I went in search for a slightly posh recipe sans ketchup and I found one which was easy to manage and all the ingredients were readily available.
This meatloaf is a double porky pig. There’s pork mince (I used the 80% fat free ones) and there’s smoked pancetta. The recipe called for half of the pancetta to be diced and mixed with the mince, while using the rest of the wafer thin strips of smoked pork to line the loaf tin. I improvised the recipe (as usual!) and fried the pancetta along with softened onions in a pan first, releasing all its flavours and juices, before mixing with the mince/breadcrumb/parsley combination.
Ta-Da!! The result of my first attempt at meatloaf turned out to be a moist, delicious loaf of piggyness. The salty, smoky flavours of the pancetta were slurped in the mince and further enhanced by the thin layer that was slightly crisp on the outside of the loaf.
I paired the meal with some herb and garlic roasted vegetables – parsnips, carrots and potatoes, and a side of dressed green salad. Not to forget a full-bodied glass of Argentinian Malbec to wash it all down. And guess what? Not a splotch of ketchup was ‘harmed’ in the making. Lovely.