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Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Mouthful--Rustic "Alsatian" Meatloaf

What, I'm not making the Rustic "French" Loaf that all of the rest of you made?! Well, yes, technically I am, but I added a little Alsatian twist to it, as you'll see later.

As you all may know, I am living in Strasbourg, France for one year (which will be up in 2 1/2 months!). ChefE over at CookAppeal asked us to introduce an appropriate cultural word when blogging about our French/German cooking, so I'm going one step further and introducing you to a whole region: Alsace. It's not a region that many people have heard of, and a region that not many Americans visit, which is such a shame. Alsace has a rocky history, and has changed hands many times over the last few centuries between France and Germany. In fact, the Alsatian language--Elsässerditsch--more closely resembles German than French.

Alsace was briefly under Nazi control from 1940-44, but has been under French control since the Treaty of Versailles in 1918. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris even has a plaque to commemorate Alsace's return to France:

Strasbourg, in particular, is a beautiful and important city, culturally, politically, and economically. You can read all about the city on Wikipedia, but if you ever get to this part of the country, stop by! Here are a few pictures of the city I have come to love:

And finally, on to the food! I adapted the meatloaf recipe ever so slightly to make it more "Alsatian." Instead of chicken livers, I used local foie gras de canard. Alsace is known for its foie gras, so I thought that if I was going to use liver, I might as well use the good stuff! This meatloaf is definitely decadent--all of us really liked it, even my daughter who notoriously has to be bribed to eat her meat! You could definitely taste the foie, and although I thought it was a little weird to add prunes and pistachios, they both added a nice, fresh flavor to the otherwise rich loaf. This was an ugly loaf, though...I think that the addition of parsley is to cover the unappetizing top rather than to add flavor. I served it with mashed potatoes and red wine, garlic and pistachio broccoli.

I'm sure I'll be making this again, but I may have to substitute some of the ingredients to make it more wallet-friendly...

Rustic "Alsatian" Meatloaf
adapted from Epicurious

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a rustic loaf)
1/2 cup skim milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound foie gras de canard
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground veal
1/4 cup chopped prunes
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted
1 teaspoons dried thyme
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Accompaniment: Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 475°F with rack in middle.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl.

Cook onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Add foie, pork, veal, prunes, pistachios, thyme, eggs, bread-crumb mixture, onion mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and gently mix with your hands until just combined.

Transfer meatloaf mixture to an 81/2- by 41/2-inch glass loaf pan and bake, covered with foil, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, 50 to 55 minutes. (If using a metal pan, it may need to cook 15 minutes longer.) Let rest 5 minutes. Cover top of meatloaf with parsley before slicing.

We had some of the leftovers in a meatloaf sandwich with Dijon mustard for lunch today, and it sure was yummy!


Chef E April 20, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

I forget you are a day ahead of me and so I feel like a snail today...I posted a notice, and once I get the ones in that emailed me, then I will put it up in the morning, and delete the other post I just put up!

BTW, was hubby excited to eat this? It looks great!

Claudia April 20, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

This looks absolutely scrumptious and a delicious change to "American" meatloaf. Of course the fun with this dish - is you can mix it up. Was in Strasbourg years and years (and years) ago. It indeed has a rich history.

Mindy April 21, 2009 at 4:22 AM  

ChefE--Yes, my husband was excited. He did call it "ugly," but it didn't stop him from eating it! ;-)

Claudia--Thanks for stopping by! What were you doing in Strasbourg?

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