October is the third annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2009."
Okay, for round two, let's try converting meatloaf and mashed potatoes into Shepherd's pie; both of which could likely be classified as classic comfort foods.
You can basically take any meatloaf recipe you currently make and deconstruct it into a second day meal of Shepherd's pie. For my meatloaf, I do the following, which is a variation of a recipe I found on allrecipes.com.
The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook also has a pretty decent meatloaf. I think the key is that you should use a combination of both pork and ground beef instead of just using beef. And if you don't want to use the meatloaf for sandwiches (which you can top with a very simple gravy made with beef stock and flour or cornstarch), Shepherd's pie is a great alternative.
Meal 1: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork (or two Italian sausages with the casings removed)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 package of finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs mixed with a handful of grated parmesan cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 5x9, ungreased bread pan (or spread over a 12-muffin tin if you want to make individual servings) press the brown sugar into the bottom of the pan and then layer with ketchup.
Put a half pack of saltine crackers and a handful of grated Parmesan into a gallon size Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush the crackers into small crumbs.
Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. Place into pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes until juices run clear and the pork is cooked through. Drain any grease from the pan and serve.
4-6 large baking potatoes or 6-8 red skin or Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 stick of butter
1/8 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Cut potatoes into one-inch cubes. Place into pot and cover with water. Season well with salt. Bring potatoes to a boil and continue to cook until a fork slides cleanly through the cubes. Drain potatoes completely and add back into pan with milk and butter. Using a hand mixer or masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency, adding more milk as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve meatloaf and mashed potatoes with corn, peas, or carrots.
Wrap leftovers separately.
Meal 2: Shepherd's pie
Leftover mashed potatoes
Any combination of peas, carrots and/or corn
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Break your meatloaf down into small pieces, not larger than 1/4 inch chunks. Put the meat into a large saute pan over medium heat and add wine, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Assess your mashed potatoes to make certain you have enough to spread over a two-quart casserole. If not, make more mashed potatoes. Heat mashed potatoes and stir in cheddar cheese.
When the beef broth is warm, take ½ cup out and whisk one tbsp. of flour or cornstarch to thicken. Stir back into meat mixture. Add vegetables to meat mixture and add flour as needed to thicken, ½ tsp. at a time.
In a two-quart casserole, put the meat mixture in the bottom of the pan. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until heated through and potatoes begin to crust.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.