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Yield: 6 servings (leftovers make great sandwiches)

  • 1 small red onion, or 2-3 shallots
  • 1-1/2 cups small mushrooms (white or brown cultivated)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef*
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (optional) such as Tabasco
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 lb. very thin sliced pancetta, or a few thin slices thin sliced bacon
  • OR a glaze made of1 tsp. Worcestershire, 1 tsp. dark soy and 2 tsp. ketchup, mixed
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or canned broth, or saved leftover meatloaf gravy from the freezer

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Chop the mushrooms, shallots or red onion, and garlic by hand, or use the food processor, with on-off pulses until coarsely chopped. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add mushroom mixture, and sauté over medium heat until the vegetables have given up their water and the liquid has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes. Season mixture generously with salt and pepper as it cooks. You want it to be a bit over-salted, which will help distribute seasoning in the meat.

Combine the ground beef, mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, egg and seasonings, mixing gently but thoroughly. You will have to use your hands. Pinch off a small bit and fry until done, to test seasoning. Adjust as necessary. Form into a loaf shape in a roasting pan. Drape with thin-sliced pancetta or bacon; or, paint the glaze over the outside. Roast until internal temperature reaches 140°F., about 50-60 minutes. To make gravy, mix flour into pan drippings until lump-free, then deglaze the pan with some broth, stirring and cooking for several minutes, until lightly thickened. Strain and serve.

*I’m not a fan of ground turkey, however it works fine in this recipe to substitute for the beef.