What I love about meatloaf are two things: 1) it’s a great way to stretch 1-2 pounds of meat into a dish enough for 6-8 people (like they did in the old days), and 2) it’s a simple dish to make and very comforting to eat.
This recipe for French meatloaf in Gourmet magazine (April 2009 issue) caught my eye because it looked more like a French pâté. The addition of chicken liver and prunes sounded intriguing. The result: It was an interesting variation for the good old stand-by meatloaf recipe I usually make.
Because I wasn’t sure my Pyrex glass pan will stand the heat of a 475 F degrees as the recipe asks for – and I didn’t want to take a risk and try it – I baked my meatloaf in a 400F oven for 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to place your loaf pan in a larger baking sheet to catch those overflow juices.
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, April 2009
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs*
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb chicken livers, separated into lobes, trimmed, and rinsed
3/4 lb ground pork
3/4 lb ground veal (I used buffalo)
1/4 cup chopped prunes
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (optional)
2 teaspoons thyme leaves*
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley*
Preheat oven to 475ºF (I cooked it in a 400 F) with rack in middle.
Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl.
Cook onion, garlic, and 1/4 tsp 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 (I chopped in with a knife), then transfer to a large bowl. Add pork, veal, prunes, pistachios (if using), thyme, eggs, bread-crumb mixture, onion mixture, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and gently mix with your hands until just combined.
Transfer meatloaf mixture to an 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch glass loaf pan and bake, covered with foil, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165ºF, 50 to 55 minutes (took me 1 1/2 hours baking at 400 F). Let rest 5 minutes.
* I used home-made fresh breadcrumbs flavored with herbs, a terrific shortcut, recipe here.