NAOMI DUNAVAN: Add zing to meatloaf with this secret ingredientThis recipe has one ingredient I’ve never seen before in meatloaf. The raves at the table that night told me I had hit the jackpot.
By: Naomi Dunavan, Grand Forks Herald
Last September, I visited my sister, Lori, in St. Louis, and her husband, Bob, mentioned he absolutely loves meatloaf for dinner and especially for lunch the next day. So, I started paging through one of Lori’s cookbooks for a unique meatloaf recipe and boy, did I find one.
This recipe has one ingredient I’ve never seen before in meatloaf. Lori had this ingredient and all the others needed so I was off and running.
The raves at the table that night told me I had hit the jackpot, so I decided to have a little fun by offering a contest. I told those around the table that I had a $5 bill in my pocket for whoever could identify the secret ingredient in the meatloaf.
There were a few wrong guesses and then John, my nephew, piped up with “horseradish.” He was accurate, of course, but he did the right thing — he disqualified himself because while I was preparing the meatloaf, he was in the kitchen making ice cream. “I saw you put the horseradish in,” he confessed.
There was no $5 prize winner that night, but we all agreed this meatloaf recipe deserves a blue ribbon. Since returning to Grand Forks, I’ve made it in my own kitchen. We have a nephew, Mike, who raises buffalo, so I use ground buffalo meat. I believe that makes this meatloaf even better — if that’s possible.
Just for a moment, let’s take our eyes off the meatloaf and focus on horseradish.
My mother used to grow it and grind it. I don’t have real vivid memories of the grinding, but I believe it was about 1,000 times more eye-watering then peeling and dicing onions.
Here’s what I learned online about horseradish:
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli and cabbages. The plant is probably native to southeast Europe and western Asia, but is popular around the world today. It grows as high as 5 feet tall and is mainly cultivated for its large, white, tapered root.
The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce mustard oil, which irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if not used immediately or mixed with vinegar, the root darkens, loses its pungency and becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.
Now, you know all about horseradish and here’s what you’ll want it for:
Meat Loaf St. Louis Style
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper
2 lbs. chuck, ground
2 tablespoons horseradish
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup milk or evaporated milk
3/4 cup catsup
Prepare bread crumbs, minced onion and green pepper.
Set oven to 400 degrees.
In large bowl, with fork, beat eggs slightly. Lightly mix in the ground chuck, then crumbs, onion, pepper. (Meat will be juicier and more tender if you handle it as little as possible). Add horseradish, salt, mustard, milk, but not the catsup, not yet!
Combine all, lightly but well.
Shape meat into an oval in a loaf pan. Spread top with the ¾ cup catsup. Bake 50 minutes.
When done, using two broad spatulas, lift loaf onto platter. Spoon some of the juices over the meal. Slice, serve and enjoy.
Reach Dunavan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at inthespirit.areavoices.com.