Meatloaf + Asparagus + Red Wine = Heaven

We have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to get warm on an island — our big annual treat!

Our first orders of business upon return this weekend was to 1.) turn the old 1939 steam heating up FULL blast, 2.) have a bottle of really great wine (ours), and 3.) make dinner.  There is just something so satisfying about leaving suitcases stacked all akimbo by the washing machine and tucking into a warm and hearty meal… before falling asleep watching reruns of House.

This meal in particular is a personal favorite and one from the dearest pages of my family arsenal.  Perfected by my Mom, I share our family recipe for meatloaf here with you.  Do not fail to memorize and replicate often Dean’s Italian recipe for asparagus.  It literally goes with EVERYTHING and is a sure fire hit.  Always.  All of which can be whipped up in 20 minutes of prep time and devoured within an hour….

Suggested pairing is our 2009 Annadel Estate’s meritage “Anni’s Blend”!

the Palmer Meatloaf:

Preheat oven to 350’F

In one bowl, combine well the following (use your hands):

  • 1.5-2 lbs good quality ground beef (not the leanest cut.  Fat = flavor here)
  • 1-2 eggs (1 egg per lb of beef)
  • 1/2 a medium chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup dried old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 handfuls crushed Ritz crackers (trust me)
  • 1/4 cup Bar B Q sauce (your choice but we prefer not overly spicy nor smoky)
  • And an assortment of diced or small veggies (fresh or frozen) — I always use a handful of frozen white sweet corn and green shelled peas as well as whatever is left from the week.  I leave them frozen and just toss ’em in.
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Fresh ground peppercorns (4-5 grinds)

Pour and smooth out beef mixture into one sturdy bread loaf pan.  Slather Bar B Q sauce across the top of the mixture (it will form a crust).  Slide into the oven (shelf on the middle rack) and bake for 45-55 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes so juices congeal.  Serve immediately on the table with a greens side — such as Dean’s asparagus!

 

one bunch store-bought asparagus

Dean’s Most Amazing Asparagus Recipe:

  • 1 bunch fresh green asparagus
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • good olive oil (drizzling kinds, not cooking)
  • 1 -2 tspn good Balsamic Vinegar
  • a pinch each of Kosher Salt and Pepper

Snap off woody ends of each asparagus stalk.  Discard woody parts and place all fresh asparagus into an empty, clean frying pan.  Fill said frying pan up half way with cold tap water, so the water just covers the stalks.

Bring the water JUST to a boil on the stove.  IMMEDIATELY remove from heat and take stalks out of the water.  IMMEDIATELY!! Asparagus should be al dente, not smooshy.  Arrange stalks on a pretty platter or plate to cool. (Can do this when the meatloaf goes in.  Cold asparagus is divine).

Whisk chopped garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil together.  Let stand until ready to serve.  The longer the better in my opinion.  A good 30 minutes of steeping imparts this wonderfully fragrant, strong garlic quality to the oil… Then, just before serving whisk in Balsamic Vinegar and drizzle over the arranged stalks.  Serve.  Do not be surprised when you find yourself (and your guests) licking their fingers…and then the plate.

HAPPY 2013 FOOD, WINE & ART LOVERS!