Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I have to say that it is unusual for me to be enthusiastic on the subject of meatloaf. I like my mom's meatloaf okay. I've tried one or two other recipes that turned out fine. But still, it's meat loaf. A loaf of meat. I'll eat it when it's put in front of me and sometimes even enjoy it...but I never crave meatloaf. I never ever order it when dining out. Then last Christmas I received a copy of the Sunrise Cookbook, full of recipes from Indianapolis chefs and WTHR (a local news station) personalities. The proceeds from this cookbook benefitted the United Way Christmas Service, which provided more than 20,000 people in need with food, clothing, and toys for Christmas last year. Pretty cool. Not only was the cookbook created for a good cause, but it was nicely done. It's full of stories, mouth-watering pictures, and delicious recipes like this Big Island Meatloaf from The Kona Grill. When I saw "Kona Grill" under the recipe title, I knew that I would try it. I never ordered their meatloaf, but I've enjoyed everything that I have ever tasted at The Kona Grill. Back in the days before I became a mom, when I worked outside of the home and could afford to stop in on occasion for happy hour and sushi...I loved that place. It was lovely to sit on the patio, soaking in the late afternoon sunshine with friends and watching the busy shoppers hurry past. Now that I'm thinking about it, I should plan to re-create this moment in time on one of our visits home.
Much like those days on the patio, this meatloaf recipe did NOT disappoint. The "loaf" is a blend of beef and sweet Italian sausage, topped with sauteed mushrooms and Shoyu cream sauce. I was pretty much in love.
Here's how it came together:
First heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add in a cup each of small-diced celery, carrot, and onion and a tablespoon of minced garlic. Saute until tender.
Then in a great big bowl combine the rest of the meatloaf ingredients: 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of ground beef, a pound of sweet Italian sausage, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato paste, bread crumbs, and eggs.
I used a spatula to combine the ingredients a bit, then I dumped in the sauteed veggies and went at it with my CLEAN hands until the mixture was well combined.
I patted the meatloaf into a greased 2-quart casserole dish, then popped it into a 400 degree oven and set the timer for 2 hours as instructed.
It was supposed to cook to and internal temp of 150 degrees. Then be removed from the oven and covered for 20 minutes to set up and finish cooking. With 40 minutes left on my timer, I was getting ready to head upstairs for a quick shower before dinner. I decided that I better look in on the meatloaf before I left the kitchen. Good thing that I did...it was getting pretty dark and crispy, especially around the edges.
A quick check with my meat thermometer showed that the internal temp of the loaf had already climbed to well above 150 degrees. My advice is to check this after an hour or reduce the cooking temp on the recipe. I poured off the fat and covered it.
While the meat loaf set up, I began the simple Shoyu cream sauce. It's just 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (I used half and half) and 1/4 cups of soy sauce.
While the sauce heats up, saute 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms in a couple of tablespoons of butter.
When the sauce reaches a boil, stir in a mixture of cornstarch and water and cook until thickened.
Top slices of meatloaf with the mushrooms and sauce. The flavors and textures in this dish blended together to create magic on my dinner plate. Even though I am still so full almost 4 hours later, my mouth is watering a little just thinking about it.
Kona Grill Big Island Meatloaf courtesy of Kona Grill from the Sunrise Cookbook
1 cup small-dice celery
1 cup small-dice carrot
1 cup small dice yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups bread crumbs
2-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and saute in oil for 3 minutes.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with the remaining ingredients and mix well with hands to make sure ingredients are fully incorporated.
4. Place meat mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. The meatloaf should be pressed out to make sure it is even throughout the whole dish.
5. Bake about 2 hours in the 400 degree oven until an internal temperature of 150 degrees is reached.
6. Carefully drain the liquid from the meatloaf and let sit for at least 20 minutes. This will let the meatloaf set.
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1. In a pan, saute the mushrooms in butter until soft.
Shoyu Cream Sauce (aka soy sauce gravy)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1. In a saucepan, place the cream and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Stir until smooth. Add into the cream and soy sauce mixture and cook and stir until thickened.
once the meatloaf has set, cut into desired portions. Top with mushrooms and Shoyu cream sauce.
Notes: I reduced the amount of ground beef to 2 lbs and the amount of bread crumbs to 1-1/2 cups. This meatloaf was well done at 1 hour and 40 minutes. I'd recommend reducing the cook time or the temperature. You may also want to place a drip pan or sheet of foil on the rack under the meatloaf to catch any grease that drips over during cooking. Finally, I substituted half and half for heavy whipping cream in the sauce (it's what I had in my fridge).