Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar and Stout Meatloaf

Bursting with deep, smoky flavor, this meatloaf combines ground bison with dark stout and sharp Irish cheddar. Then it's wrapped with smoked bacon, truly making it a meatloaf like none other! 
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Normally, I wouldn't get too excited about a meatloaf.
But, let me tell you, this is no ordinary meatloaf.

I should've known what I was going to be in for with this dish, as the amazing savory aroma was permeating throughout the house as it was roasting.
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Since I love bison, and had some on hand, I decided to use it in place of ground beef in this recipe. But, by all means, if you prefer ground beef in your meatloaf, go for it!
I took the usual veggies and aromatics and pulverized them in the food processor before sautéing them with stout.
Doing this really locks in that deep, stout flavor.
Next, you'll combine the ground bison (or beef) with the veggies, soaked bread, and cheese. Scoop it all onto a sheet pan and form it into a loaf.
Then make your life a little better and wrap the whole thing in bacon. Because that's the completely normal thing to do.
Seriously, having made countless meatloaf's without bacon, and making this one with bacon, I'm not sure I can ever go back. Ever. It was that good.
Not only does it infuse an amazing smoky flavor throughout the entire meatloaf, but it acts as a skin and locks in so much moisture. 
It's basically a win-win.
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And since it includes stout and Irish cheddar, I figured it'd be perfect for dinner on St. Patrick's Day, and any other day for that matter.

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar and Stout Meatloaf
serves 4

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves
4 oz. cremini mushrooms
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
2-3 oz stale bread, diced (I used a leftover hoagie bun)
½ cup whole milk
½ cup stout beer
1 ¼ lbs. ground bison (or ground beef)
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup grated sharp Irish cheddar cheese
8 slices applewood smoked bacon

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, and parsley. Pulse until finely minced.
Place a pan over medium heat and drizzle in oil. Add vegetables to pan and sauté for 5-6 minutes until soft. 
In the meantime, pour milk over bread in a small bowl. Allow bread to soak for 5 minutes. Squeeze out liquid and add to a large bowl. Add bison, egg, worcestershire, salt, pepper, and cheese. 

Once vegetables are soft, add stout to pan and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add vegetables to the bowl with the bison and mix with hands until well combined. Don't over mix.

Scoop mixture onto prepared sheet pan and form into a loaf.
Using one slice at a time, lay bacon across the meatloaf, overlapping ½ inch, tucking the ends under the meat.

Place in preheated oven and cook for 45-55 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reaches 165º when inserted in the middle of the loaf.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


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