It's Not Meat Loaf; It's Meat Loaf de Veau

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Yesterday the economy was booming, everyone was making money, and it was steak and lobster for all.  

Today the economy is in the shitter, everyone is broke, and it's Hamburger Helper and ramen for dinner.

It's times like these that test a cook's ingenuity. If you want to eat like a king on a peasant's income, you've got to find a way to make inexpensive ingredients taste like steak and lobster. One way to do that is to prepare cheap ingredients in a manner that maximizes and deepens their flavor, say, caramelizing onions and garlic. Another is to use small quantities of pricey but flavor-packed ingredients to jack up the taste of their less-expensive brethren. 

Both of those techniques come into play in this faux veal terrine that's really just good ol' American meat loaf with a French accent. After all, just because the economy is in the shitter doesn't mean you have to eat crap. 


Meat loaf de veau
1 lb. ground veal
½ lb. ground pork
½ C. dried shiitake and porcini mushrooms
½ C. shelled pistachios
1 small onion, thinly sliced 
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil or butter
1 T. La Rustichella truffle paste (optional)
½ C. panko 1
 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten with 2 T. of the strained mushroom soaking water
Salt and pepper to taste 

Caramelize onion in oil or butter over low heat until sweet and golden; five minutes before they're done, add sliced garlic and finish caramelizing. Reconstitute mushrooms in hot water and chop coarsely. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

When onions and mushrooms are cool, mix all remaining ingredients well. Form into bread-loaf-sized rectangle and place in shallow oiled roasting pan. (Don't stuff it into one of those tinny meat loaf pans; it will steam in its own juices rather than bake and you won't get all that nice caramelized crust.) Cook for about one hour or until 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Let rest for ten minutes and slice.

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