This is the most colorful meal that I've made in a long time ... and it was just perfect for the Solstice. It was dark and dreary here all day Wednesday ... at 4PM, I looked out the window to rain and a heavy fog rolling and roiling around the back yard ... it was all very damp and eerie. Even the dogs were spooked when they ran out after dinner for their evening dash. I was much happier sitting by the warm woodstove knitting on a wintertime project with warm spicy meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes warming me from the inside.
Winter Solstice ... there WAS no available light!
This is a bright and happy dish. Sweet potatoes mashed with buttermilk and a bit of salt. Individual spiced and herbed pork meatloaves, and a Creole tomato gravy to smother it all in hot cayenne spices. I took the recipe from Rachael Ray's cookbook - look + cook. That Rachael! She comes up with some good ones!
Anyway, it was just what we needed to cheer up our Winter Solstice evening!
Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy and Buttermilk Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4 - 5
2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
¾ -1 c. buttermilk
1 tbps. olive oil
1 large onion, red or yellow - finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. ground pork
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¼ c. grainy mustard
½ c. fine bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tbsp. butter
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. flour
1½ c. chicken stock
2 to 3 tbsp. hot sauce, depending on how hot and spicy you like things
4 to 5 scallion, washed and sliced into rings and coins, for garnish
Making the Dish:
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C
1. Prep the sweet potatoes and boil them gently in salted water until fork tender. Mash them with the buttermilk and cover them to keep them warm.
2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, place ¼ of the chopped onion and all the garlic in a large frypan with the olive oil and sauté until golden and translucent.
3. Turn the heat off under the frypan and transfer the onion and garlic to a deep bowl. Add the ground pork, bread crumbs, egg, grainy mustard, salt and black pepper, fresh thyme, and paprika. Mix this all together with your hands to a nice mash.
4. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make four individual meatloaves that are about 2 inches thick and 5 inches long. Place them on the parchment paper and drizzle them with a bit of olive oil.
5. Bake the meatloaves for about 35 minutes until they are firm and golden brown.
6. While the meatloaves are baking, make the Trinity gravy. Place the rest of the onion, the celery, green pepper and butter in the same frypan you used before and sauté until wilted and shiny.
7. Add the flour by sprinkling it over the whole surface of the vegetables and stirring to make a roux.
8. Add the chicken broth and tomato paste and stir over medium heat until the gravy thickens.
9. Add the hot sauce (I use a very hot Thai chili and garlic sauce) a bit at a time until you have the Creole spice level that you like. Correct the salt and black pepper seasoning.
10. Cover, turn the heat off and re-warm the gravy when the meatloaves are being plated.
11. To serve, plate the individual meatloaves , slice them into thick wedges, plop a nice mound of warmed sweet potatoes on the side and drizzle some of the gravy over part of each mound and on some of the meatloaf. Sprinkle on the scallions and bring to the table. We had a hearty red wine with this meal, but big cold beers would be fantastic also.