This is a spin on a traditional, southern, all-things-comfort recipe. The mushrooms and tomato paste add a different, but incredibly delicious, take on this classic.
A simpler adaptation from Anthony Bourdain’s recipe on epicurious .
Meat: Ground Beef or Ground Beef Chuck
Mouths to feed: 6-12
How long is this going to take?: Approx. 2 hours. 1 hour plus 30-45 min in the oven and about 20 minutes active time.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and very finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, very finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves only, very finely chopped (or dried)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (or dried)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 1/3 pounds ground beef or ground beef chuck
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound cremini (or any kind) mushrooms, diced
- 2 large or 3 to 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (we’ve opted for more onions and a few dashes of onion powder if we don’t have shallots on hand).
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, marjoram, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are soft and translucent but not browned. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Once the vegetable mixture is cool, add the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, and about 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix. Grease the loaf pan and transfer the mixture to the pan. Cover the loaf with foil and place the loaf pan on a sheet pan. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, throw a load of laundry in, take the dog for a walk, sneak in a nap.
- Remove the foil and spread the top of the meat loaf with the tomato paste. Don’t worry, it’s delicious, you will see. Pop it back in and continue to cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat loaf rest, in the pan.
- You could wait to make the gravy while the loaf rests, however, if your family is banging their forks on the table you can speed things up by making the gravy while the loaf cooks for it’s last 30-45 minutes. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the butter then add the diced mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom’s juices evaporate. Add the shallots and salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until the mushrooms get browned and the shallots are translucent or slightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir well to evenly coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes, to cook off the raw flour taste. Stir in the stock. Whisk the mixture to fully combine. Add a splash more stock or water if necessary if the mixture seems too thick, then reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the meat loaf in slices, with the gravy ladled over or alongside mashed potatoes.