Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Greek-style Stuffed Meatloaf

Living in a hardcore capitalistic country stuns me time and again. The way people are crazy about making money, even if it is a tiny amount, is just baffling. There seems to be constant scheming, everybody is trying to screw everybody else over money. People fall for coupons, being persuaded to believe that they save money (when they are actually spending it on things they wouldn't usually buy). I admit that I love to use coupons as well - if I find one for something I was going to buy anyway. Everything is called "business" or "industry". The expression "health industry" conveys in two words the whole perversity  of the business (I might even go as far as calling it an oxymoron). Another favorite scheme of mine is college education. Schools make you pay - excuse the following expression - a shit load of money to get your degree. Most students end up starting their post-college life having to pay off a loan. And yet, at the same time, many schools make their students feel like they owe something to the school and are proud to make alumni donations to their alma maters.

But now for today's dinner. When I announced to HubbyGrouch that we were going to have meatloaf and potatoes he was envisioning his basic culinary nightmare. He vaguely remembers some traumatizing incident of having a soggy meatloaf at a high school cafeteria or something. Well, he ended up liking the meatloaf more than I did. It was the first time I made one; I just wanted to try it out. I think, I will stick to the meat patties that I know from childhood (maybe I'll try the spinach stuffing for those some time). I might make a plain meatloaf without stuffing in the future, we'll see. I would definitely recommend not to use all the spinach mixture. The recipe required one pound of spinach but that was way too much! 10 ounces is more than enough I think.

10 ounces fresh baby spinach
salt, pepper
1 ounce pine nuts
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 large eggs
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 medium onion, minced
1 1/3 pound minced beef
2 tsp mustard
1 tbsp oil

Blanche in spinach in batches for 30 seconds in boiling salted water. Rinse with cold water, drain well, squeeze water out, and chop coarsely. Roast pine nuts in a small skillet without oil. Mix spinach with feta, garlic, 1 egg, and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, pour 1/4 cup water over bread crumbs. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add onion, minced meat, mustard, and 2 eggs. Season with about 1 1/3 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well. Spread oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread about half the meat mixture on baking sheet, forming an about 10" by 5" square. Place spinach mixture along the mid-line of the meat mixture, then cover carefully with remaining meat, so that spinach is not visible. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Serve with tomato salad and potatoes.

Tip for serving: (I would have done this if I had had the time) Cook 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and peel. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry potatoes until golden brown. Add 1 pound of cherry tomatoes and 5 twigs rosemary. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For serving, arrange potatoes and tomatoes around the meatloaf.

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