Monday, January 30, 2012

"Casserole Treasury" - Baked Alaska Meat Loaf

Date I made this recipe: January 29, 2012

Casserole Treasury by Lousene Rousseau Brunner
Published by: Harper & Row, Publishers
© 1964
Recipe: Baked Alaska Meat Loaf – p. 16

When the going gets tough around here, the tough get going on making a comforting dish, like Baked Alaska Meat Loaf!

It wasn’t that the last two weeks were necessarily bad but they weren’t necessarily good, either. And the lack of sun was making this gal quite unhappy. So I was all fixed and ready to go for a casserole but then couldn’t quite nail the recipe until my husband intervened.

So I ran a few by him: “Tuna Casserole,” one of my favorites, got me that “look” and so I moved on. “Beef and Cabbage with Rice” got me a “hmm” and “Cheese-Spaghetti Casserole” got me a definite “No” (all because of the cheese). “Well, then you select something,” I said and handed the book over.

He came up with “Hearty Turkey Soup” and that earned him my first “No,” and then a few dishes with booze as a primary ingredient – intriguing, but no – and then a casserole with both blue cheese and sour cream (“So in other words, something light.”) that also earned a “No.”

Not to be deterred, he finally suggested today’s Baked Alaska Meat Loaf recipe in honor of the good people of Fairbanks, Alaska, who woke up to -50 degree temperatures. Say it with me now – “Yowza!!!” (For the record, I’ve cross-country skied in -30 but that’s as low as I go.)

Baked Alaska Meat Loaf is the perfect combination of everything I love – meatloaf and mashed potatoes. The author even suggested my favorite mashed potato accompaniment – peas!

And so we had Baked Alaska Meat Loaf and peas and watched the SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild Awards) and life was pretty good. And we didn’t have to endure -50 degree temperatures to boot.

Baked Alaska Meat Loaf - serves 6 amply

2 pounds lean chuck ground
2 eggs slightly beaten
2 scant teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
¼ cup minced onion
½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh, chopped
½ teaspoon dried sweet basil or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh, chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley
3 ½ cups fresh mashed potato (instant will do)
2 eggs yolks
Parmesan cheese (optional)

“This is a sort of cross between a regular meat loaf and a shepherd’s pie, but to my mind better than either and more appealing to the eye.”

Blend well in a mixing bowl the meat, eggs, salt and pepper, crumbs, onion and herbs. Pack firmly into a round ovenproof bowl and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes at 400.

Drain off the liquid which will accumulate and invert the bowl on a wire rack to drain completely. Pat the loaf dry with paper towels and slide it onto a shallow casserole or a Pyrex pie plate somewhat larger than the loaf.

In the meantime, prepare the mashed potatoes. Beat them until they are fluffy and beat in the egg yolks. (Author’s note: As indicated above, you can use your favorite instant mashed – an 8-serving box.)

Frost the meat loaf thickly with the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika and grated Parmesan cheese (if you use it) and set the loaf back in the oven 25-30 minutes, or until the surface is golden. Serves 6 amply.

Serve with green peas mixed with tiny white onions.

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