We've all had meatloaf more times than we can count and, depending on the culinary skills of the cook, many of us automatically assume a dried up morsel of flavorless—or too salty—mystery meat, which is hardly what you want to eat, much less offer to guests.
So, imagine my delighted surprise when friends recently served me what is simply the best meatloaf I've ever eaten. The guests all looked at one another with incredulity...and the wish that we had more room in our stomachs.
“The secret is equal parts bison and beef,” said our hosts Michele and Afrid, “and you can buy bison at Costco.” The bison is low in fat while the beef loosens the bison texture and imparts a “rounder” flavor. The result is more moisture, less fat, and a curiously hearty yet refined mouthful.
The recipe is simple and pretty much foolproof:
2 lbs minced meat (half bison, half beef)
1 minced onion
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Brewer's yeast
2 cloves minced garlic
1 generous handful capers
pinches of salt, pepper
Butter a rectangular oven-proof dish, spoon in the mixture, and bake for 1 ½ hours at 350 F.
As the child of frugal German immigrants, I ate a lot of meatloaf as a child, only we called it
falscher Hase, literally, fake rabbit. After WWII, when meat rations were still in effect, German housewives would mix up whatever meaty scraps they had, add lots of spices, form an oblong, stuff a few (cheaper than meat) hard-boiled eggs inside, and wrap the whole thing in bacon. Once baked and perhaps decorated with caper or pickle eyes, it resembled the noble and coveted rabbit.