Half-way through October, and I am eagerly waiting for the weather to cool down as I am craving comfort food. I am hungry for thick squash-based soups and meaty stews that simmer all day on the stove. As well, as roasted meats served alongside tender winter greens. You know the kind of food I am talking about, the kind that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a big bowl of comfort. I couldn’t wait any longer, so I got to work in the kitchen and began reinventing my grandma’s Old Fashioned Beef Meatloaf recipe. It is a classic recipe that I have reinvented. This recipe is perfect served with a big dollop of mashed potatoes, and a bottle of Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot.
The Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot is a perfect every day wine which happens to pair very well with this meatloaf recipe. When I first tried this bottle of Merlot, I instantly was taken back to a childhood memory of my grandfather’s vanilla tobacco pipe that he often smoked at the end of his day. The vanilla is just subtle enough to warm this berry forward wine. Lenny said he tasted plums along with the vanilla, while I found hints of blackberries in my glass. The berries along with the vanilla complements the smokiness of the bacon and the spiciness of the chipotle sauce that I used in the recipe.
One of the first meals I served Lenny when we began dating was a meatloaf. I made it with all intentions of leftovers; it must have been great as he devoured the entire thing in one sitting. My recipe hasn’t changed much over the years, and I am proud to say he still devours it. I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to meatloaf; no carrots, celery, peas or cheese should be added to the mix. Just good quality ground beef and pork, along with garlic, onions, and parsley. My grandmother’s meatloaf was always simple, moist and flavorful, and I have continued to make it almost the same way over the years. She would cover the top of the loaf with ketchup that she sweetened with brown sugar, just before baking it. Since we watch our sugar intake, I use an unsweetened ketchup and add some spicy chipotle sauce to it before slathering the top of the meat. Then I wrap it with strips of peppery bacon before baking. Feel free to use whatever kind of ketchup as well as bacon, that you like, the recipe will still be comforting and delicious.
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