Meatloaf?!?  Did he say MEATLOAF?!?

Yes, I said meatloaf.  Victor’s all-time favorite meal is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas.  It’s his birthday.  Who am I to argue?!?

However… meatloaf doesn’t have to be boring – as tonight’s dinner proved!

Back in December I found a recipe for a French Rustic Meatloaf that sounded intriguing…  Made with ground veal, ground pork, and … chicken livers.

I’ve cooked long enough to know that many ingredients can simply blend into a dish and even powerfully-flavored items such as chicken livers can disappear, leaving an undefinable under-flavor that has nothing to do with its natural state.  And that is exactly what these chicken livers did, tonight.  They added a layer of richness that is totally unrecognizable as livers of any sort.  If you hate chicken livers you could make this and not even know they were in there.  Really.  And if you do make it – don’t leave them out.  Really.  Trust me on this one.

A couple of hints for when you make this – and I really do believe that everyone should.   It’s that good.

  1. It bakes at 475°.  Starting with a reasonably clean oven would help alleviate the billowing clouds of smoke I had in the house.
  2. Placing the loaf pan on a sheet pan to catch the over-spills will also help alleviate the billowing clouds of smoke.
  3. The recipe states 50-55 minutes to cook.  Mine took closer to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Rustic French Meatloaf

  • 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a rustic loaf)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, separated into lobes, trimmed, and rinsed
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 cup chopped prunes
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Accompaniment: Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 475°F with rack in middle.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl.

Cook onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Purée livers in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl. Add pork, veal, prunes, pistachios, thyme, eggs, bread-crumb mixture, onion mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and gently mix with your hands until just combined.

Transfer meatloaf mixture to an 81/2- by 41/2-inch glass loaf pan (see cooks note, below) and bake, covered with foil, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, 50 to 55 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Cover top of meatloaf with parsley before slicing.

Serve with:
buttered boiled potatoes

Cooks’ note:
You can use a metal loaf pan, but the meatloaf will take about 15 minutes longer to cook.

I made some cheesy scalloped potatoes in place of the traditional mashed, but we did have the peas.  I can’t totally mess with tradition!

This really was one of the better meatloafs I’ve ever had.  Totally nontraditional, yet comforting at the same time.

Tomorrow, in honor of its French ancestry, I’m going to bring home a baguette and some triple cream brie.  I think nontraditional meatloaf sandwiches are in order.

And in just a little while…

Birthday Cake.

Strawberry Cream…..