I was fully prepared to completely throw in the cholesterol towel with this recipe. I was going to just go with the flow and use whatever the original recipe called for but am hindered by two things: my inner urging to try something at least a little bit healthier this time (you’ll laugh later if you didn’t just then); and the fact that I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to order one pound of ground lamb from my grocery store. They don’t sell it regularly. You’ve got to order it. And I’m, again, lazy and don’t really want to order something I’ll probably keep forgetting to pick up later. When the work week is well on its harried, hellishly hectic way. I’m at the store now, people. Now’s the time. Lean ground beef and ground chicken it is.
Well my goodness, you need a lot of stuff to make meatloaf! So much that I couldn’t get all of the items completely in the shot. Hello, back there, meats! No worries, you’re totally appreciated and in on this, too.
And just when you thought it was safe to, you know, stop getting stuff out for this recipe – there’s more! The first step is to make the glaze. It’s really yum.
And when you’re done melding those three ingredients and reducing them down, it looks like you’ve made coffee! Yeah! I swear this isn’t coffee, though, it’s the actual glaze. Thumbs all the way up.
The recipe calls for three ounces of cheese, aged cheddar to be exact. I was pretty excited because I still had some left from a recent recipe we made a couple of weeks ago, and the stuff is really good. Again, the meatloaf recipe calls for three ounces. Does that look like three ounces above? If you answered with NO – it looks like MORE and who cares, use it ALL. Ding ding! You win!
OK, so this is fast-forwarded quite a bit and a lot of stuff happens, stuff happens, stuff happens and bam! We’re ready to mix everything up so we can make meat into a loaf, man. But for posterity’s sake this is what happened:
1. I sautéed some onions and garlic with some of that really potent Guiness stout beer stuff. Oh hey, did I mention I’ve never tasted any Guiness at all before? Woooo! I’ve never had a beard or chest hair in all my female-born life, but I’m a little scared it might sprout now. Just sayin’, the stuff is that stout.
2. At one point you mix some chunks of bread with a little milk, which is mixed in a food processor with the one pound ground beef and one pound ground chicken. Again – lean beef used here and this was one of the most tender and moist meatloafs I’ve made to date.
3. Throw in lots of other stuff with all that into a bowl and prepare to mix by hand.
Whoa! Naked, uncooked meatloaf isn’t the prettiest contestant on the Runway of Eats. But…we know it’s going to be tasty. We hope. Fingers crossed.
Oh hey now, this is an interesting costume change. Bacon, folks. It can only go uphill from here. Brush on some of that extremely dark and rich glaze before placing it all in the oven. This is also the point where you could laugh after my attempts to be somewhat healthier with a meatloaf. Anyway…it’s bacon, woohoo!
Oh my. Gotta say, the end results don’t look too shabby. Alright, alright, alright!
In all seriousness, this was a really tasty meatloaf. Guinness is just as its label promises – strong and stout indeed, but the flavors aren’t too strong in this. Combined with the porcini mushrooms and onions, it’s just different enough to be worth trying as well as yummy. The bacon on top doesn’t hurt anything either and the glaze is a nice switch from a more traditional tomato-based sauce. The lean beef and chicken substitutes worked great; the loaf overall was nice and juicy, not dry at all (and that includes reheating it). While I won’t be chugging down a Guinness while eating this, I’d say overall this recipe is a big success.
Guiness & Cheddar Meatloaf
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: a little over one hour Level: Easy Serves: 6-8
For the glaze:
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
For the meatloaf:
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
- 4 ounces quality white bread (about 2 slices of white bread), roughly torn
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1 cup grated aged white Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 (.75 ounce) package of dried Porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces sliced bacon, about 12 strips
To make the glaze: In a medium saucepan, bring the stout, brown sugar and honey to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool; set half the mixture aside. Reserve remaining glaze for later use in the recipe.
To make the meatloaf: Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the stout and simmer briskly until almost dry, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until just warm.
In a small bowl, reconstitute the dried mushrooms by covering them with boiling water; allow to soak for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the mushrooms and finely chop.
In a shallow dish, soak the bread in the milk, tossing once, until soggy but not falling apart, about 5-7 minutes; set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, add beef, chicken, and soaked bread and process until well-combined, about 10 (1-second) pulses. Transfer meat mixture to bowl with cooled onions. Add eggs, cheese, mushrooms, parsley, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the meat mixture to the sheet and form into a 9×5-inch rectangular loaf. Drape the meatloaf with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf. Brush the top of the meatloaf with half of the glaze.
Bake until an instant read thermometer registers 160° F in the center of the meatloaf, about 45-50 minutes.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven. Place the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler. Brush the remaining glaze over the meatloaf and broil until the bacon is browned and crisped, about 1-2 minutes, checking and rotating the pan to make sure the glaze doesn’t burn. Using two large spatulas, carefully transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve.
True story: I completely forgot to add the salt and pepper to the meat mixture. I remember why now. At the time my hands were a soppy, yucky mess from working with the ground meat and it just slipped my mind. The meatloaf was still plenty flavorful enough, and besides, there’s some salt in the Worcestershire sauce.
Try to use a baking pan that has higher sides than a cookie sheet if you can. My meatloaf produced a lot of juices that wanted to slosh around as I moved the pan. Just be careful not to spill it on you and burn yourself.
Of course, if you prefer to use the meats originally called for, or if ground chicken and lean beef aren’t appealing, do check the source links for alternatives.