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Long Island Larder: Wild Mushroom Meatloaf

Thu, 03/11/1982 - 16:12

Dried black mushrooms from Japan and spicy, pungent French chanterelles make this a meatloaf for royals. As well it might, since the imported dried mushrooms cost a king’s ransom.

One way to economize on this if you wish to, is to use only half an ounce of the highly flavored chanterelles augmented by one cup of sauteed domestic mild mushrooms. (Never add uncooked vegetables to a meatloaf or paté mixture as they will not amalgamate properly, thus causing the meatloaf to crumble.)

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (chuck)
1 lb. ground pork shoulder (fatty)
1 lb. lean ground veal
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tsp. course black pepper
2 oz. dried black Japanese mushrooms
1 oz. dried French chanterelles
1 cup minced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup soft fresh white breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 tsp. salt
4-5 thin strips Virginia bacon (best quality, cut from slab)
Watercress

Mix together the beef, veal, bourbon, and black pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight . . . or several hours at least. Wash the mushrooms well as they are apt to be a bit sandy. Put them in a deep narrow bowl and pour over them boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes. Save the water to use in soup. Drain the mushrooms, dry them, and cut out the hard centers of the Japanese type and just the very tips of the chanterelles. Chop these into about 1/4-inch dice and add them to the meats.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter until limp and add them to the meats along with all remaining ingredients except the bacon and watercress. Mix the meatloaf well using your hands and a light quick motion. Do not squeeze the meat as this will make the meatloaf tough. Do not use a dough hook as this beats all life out of it. Shape the loaf into a long oval about four inches high. Put into a low-sided gratin dish and cover the meatloaf firmly with as many bacon strips as required. Place this in the center of an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for one hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees. Do not overbake it or all the flavor and juiciness will stay behind in the pan juices. Let the meatloaf rest at least half an hour before serving it. It is fine served at room temperature, but this is not highly spiced enough to be served really cold. Slice in half-inch servings, put the loaf back together tightly, and serve it on a platter surrounded by sprigs of watercress, lots of it.

On no account allow anyone to introduce catsup to this meatloaf (there has not ever been, nor will be, a bottle of this stuff in my house). Make a dill-mustard sauce for it with Dijon mustard thinned with heavy cream and laced with chopped fresh dill.

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