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DIAMOND LIL'S MEATLOAF

As remembered by me, her granddaughter

My mom wasn't a cook. She trudged off to Safeway every day to wrap meat and support our family. But HER mother was a marvelous cook - my grandmother Lillian AKA Diamond Lil/Poker and Pinochle Queen. She made an effortless meatloaf that was delicious - my favorite part of eating it was scoring several pieces of crispy bacon that sat atop the ketchup-shrouded loaf.  Like most women of her era, my grandmother rarely wrote her recipes down, and sadly, most of those which she did are long lost. So.......I did my best to recreate her amazing meatloaf, subbing in some leaner beef and ground turkey, adding more moisture with additional egg, and retaining some amazing flavor by using a bit of ground pork and real bacon on top. I just can't give that memory up.

So here goes, and remember - the beauty of a meatloaf is that it's pretty much a blank slate for using up those tidbits of things left in your freezer, your produce drawer, and your breadbox. The key thing is to keep it moist, otherwise your efforts are in vain. So don't be afraid to add an extra egg, more onions, extra ground meat, or more panade (fancy term for bread soaked in liquid) to achieve that goal. Enjoy Diamond Lil's Meatloaf (after all, she was a card shark!). This recipe feeds 12 so no worries if you cut the recipe in half (or better yet, invite some neighbors and friends over, and have a great meal!).  I had so much left over, I repurposed the meat into 2 more dishes, which I'll describe at the end.

  WHAT YOU NEED:   9-10” loaf pan  Sheet pan/aluminum foil  Large Bowl  Frying pan   INGREDIENTS:   -  2 cups chopped yellow or brown onion  -  ½ cup shredded carrots  -  Extra virgin olive oil  -  2 cups bread, cubed  -  ½ cup milk or chicken stock   

WHAT YOU NEED:

9-10” loaf pan

Sheet pan/aluminum foil

Large Bowl

Frying pan

INGREDIENTS:

-  2 cups chopped yellow or brown onion

-  ½ cup shredded carrots

-  Extra virgin olive oil

-  2 cups bread, cubed

-  ½ cup milk or chicken stock

 

 -  1 pound ground beef (lean 10% fat)  -  1 pound ground turkey (lean 10% fat)  -  1 pound ground pork (20% fat)  -  2 tsp Italian dry seasoning  -  2 tsp EACH kosher salt and pepper  -  3 TB Worcestershire Sauce  -  1 TB Yellow Mustard  -  3 large eggs  -  1 small can tomato paste  -  1 pkg. sliced bacon   

-  1 pound ground beef (lean 10% fat)

-  1 pound ground turkey (lean 10% fat)

-  1 pound ground pork (20% fat)

-  2 tsp Italian dry seasoning

-  2 tsp EACH kosher salt and pepper

-  3 TB Worcestershire Sauce

-  1 TB Yellow Mustard

-  3 large eggs

-  1 small can tomato paste

-  1 pkg. sliced bacon

 

 1.      Saute the onions and shredded carrots in a TB of olive oil, until carrots are soft and onions are translucent/light brown.  Set aside to cool.  As you can see on the picture to your left, I took a shortcut and used shredded carrots-in-a-bag from the market.                  

1.      Saute the onions and shredded carrots in a TB of olive oil, until carrots are soft and onions are translucent/light brown.  Set aside to cool.  As you can see on the picture to your left, I took a shortcut and used shredded carrots-in-a-bag from the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2.     Into a large bowl, add the cubes of bread to the milk or stock.  Massage a bit until the bread breaks up and absorbs the liquid.  This mixture of bread and milk is called a  PANADE  and serves the function of binding the meat together, adding some flavor (I used sourdough), and adding moisture - especially since we are using leaner cuts of ground meats.

2.     Into a large bowl, add the cubes of bread to the milk or stock.  Massage a bit until the bread breaks up and absorbs the liquid.  This mixture of bread and milk is called a PANADE and serves the function of binding the meat together, adding some flavor (I used sourdough), and adding moisture - especially since we are using leaner cuts of ground meats.

 3.     Add the beef, turkey and pork. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, 1 TB of the tomato paste and mustard and mix until blended.  Using your (clean) hands here is perfectly fine.

3.     Add the beef, turkey and pork. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, 1 TB of the tomato paste and mustard and mix until blended.  Using your (clean) hands here is perfectly fine.

 4.  Then add the eggs and onion/carrot mixture next and mix in with your hands until incorporated.

4.  Then add the eggs and onion/carrot mixture next and mix in with your hands until incorporated.

 5. Gently pack your meat mixture into the loaf pan, and refrigerate for an hour so it can firm up, the flavors can blend, and you can have a glass of wine.  6.  At the end of the hour, unmold your loaf straight onto a foil lined sheet pan.

5. Gently pack your meat mixture into the loaf pan, and refrigerate for an hour so it can firm up, the flavors can blend, and you can have a glass of wine.

6.  At the end of the hour, unmold your loaf straight onto a foil lined sheet pan.

 7.  With an offset spatula or knife, "frost" your meatloaf with the remaining tomato paste.

7.  With an offset spatula or knife, "frost" your meatloaf with the remaining tomato paste.

 8.  Here's my favorite part - shingling the bacon on top. Don't worry if the bacon is too long on the sides - it will shrink with cooking.  9.  If you like a little zing, sprinkle with paprika - adds color too.

8.  Here's my favorite part - shingling the bacon on top. Don't worry if the bacon is too long on the sides - it will shrink with cooking.

9.  If you like a little zing, sprinkle with paprika - adds color too.

 10.  Bake at 325 for an hour. Then turn up the heat as high as your oven will go, and bake another 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crispy and golden, and the internal temperature is 155.    11.  Tent your loaf with foil for about 10 minutes, so it continues to cook, and the juices redistribute. With a couple of large spatulas, transfer it to a serving platter.

10.  Bake at 325 for an hour. Then turn up the heat as high as your oven will go, and bake another 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crispy and golden, and the internal temperature is 155.  

11.  Tent your loaf with foil for about 10 minutes, so it continues to cook, and the juices redistribute. With a couple of large spatulas, transfer it to a serving platter.

 12.  Here's how I remember having Grandma's meatloaf - with a side of tots and some string beans.....and don't forget the ketchup!    KIDDOCJJ tip:    As I said above, I had a lot more meatloaf left over. So here are a couple easy ways to use it.   BOLOGNESE SAUCE   Saute a chopped onion and a bag of sliced mushrooms in a large pan.  Chop up some of the bacon from the top of the meat and add to the pan. Add about 1/3 of the meatloaf, and break up the meat with your spatula. Pour in a 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, a cup of wine, a TB of Italian seasoning and some fresh chopped basil.  Serve over pasta!    TACO NIGHT   Coarsely chop up another third of the loaf. Put in a hot saucepan with 1 TB oregano, 1 TB cumin and 1 TB chili powder.  Add 1 cup of your favorite salsa to the mix and heat through.  Serve with a side of sauteed onion and anaheim chilis, lime wedges, shredded cheese, chopped up tomatoes, cilantro, and your favorite tortillas or taco shells.

12.  Here's how I remember having Grandma's meatloaf - with a side of tots and some string beans.....and don't forget the ketchup!

KIDDOCJJ tip:  As I said above, I had a lot more meatloaf left over. So here are a couple easy ways to use it.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE Saute a chopped onion and a bag of sliced mushrooms in a large pan.  Chop up some of the bacon from the top of the meat and add to the pan. Add about 1/3 of the meatloaf, and break up the meat with your spatula. Pour in a 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, a cup of wine, a TB of Italian seasoning and some fresh chopped basil.  Serve over pasta! 

TACO NIGHT  Coarsely chop up another third of the loaf. Put in a hot saucepan with 1 TB oregano, 1 TB cumin and 1 TB chili powder.  Add 1 cup of your favorite salsa to the mix and heat through.  Serve with a side of sauteed onion and anaheim chilis, lime wedges, shredded cheese, chopped up tomatoes, cilantro, and your favorite tortillas or taco shells.