I just made the biggest meatloaf I’ve ever seen, but also one of the best I’ve ever had. It has ground mushrooms in it, which added moisture, texture and flavor to what can sometimes be a bland enterprise.
I got the idea for mushroom meatloaf from a recipe in The Mushroom Book by Michael McLaughlin, but his is an Italian treatment (ground veal, Italian sausage, etc.) with cremini and shiitake mushrooms. I used ground beef, pork and turkey, white mushrooms and “baby bellas”, plus changed up the herbs and other ingredients. I was in a hurry to get mine into the oven for company, so I minced several things in the food processor that I usually would have chopped by hand, but it turned out great, so that’s what I’m recommending in the recipe — also, how easy!
This meatloaf doesn’t have any tomato in it, but you can certainly serve it with ketchup or spread it with tomato sauce about a half hour into baking. I served it with green beans, mashed potatoes and a mushroom gravy (courtesy of my husband, who makes far better gravy than me!).
3-4 carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 pound white mushrooms, cleaned (half reserved for gravy)
1 pound “baby bellas”, cleaned (half reserved for gravy)
Salt, to taste (see recommendations in directions)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 white onion, chopped (for gravy)
3/4 – 1 cup chicken or beef stock (for gravy)
In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Put carrots through the grating blade of a food processor. Set aside, clean out food processor and put in regular blade. Feed onion, garlic and bell pepper into food processor and pulse, stirring down to get big chunks incorporated, until you have everything at a fine chop or even mince, but not a paste. Put that and shredded carrots into the skillet and stir a few times. Using the food processor one more time (with blade), add half of each of the mushrooms and pulse until minced. Make a well in the middle of the carrot/onion mixture and put the mushroom mixture there (hottest part of the pan). After a few minutes, incorporate everything in the pan. Stir in 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt plus basil and parsley. Continue to sauté until the raw onion smell is gone and the mushrooms have released their liquid (about 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a very large bowl, add all three meats, breaking them up. Add bread crumbs, eggs, 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper; mix or knead to combine. Add mushroom mixture (with liquid) and mix or knead to combine. Turn out onto a baking sheet with a lip or a roasting pan (cover with foil if you don’t want to clean up the mess!). Shape into an oval loaf.
Bake for an hour and 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer through the middle of the loaf reads 160 degrees. (I turned the oven up to 400 for the last 10 minutes to get the meat more brown and crusty because the “crust” is my favorite part.) If you want to serve with gravy, sauté the remaining 1/2 onion and 1/2 pound of each kind of mushroom (chopped or sliced) in a little olive oil until onion is translucent and mushroom tender. Set aside in a bowl. When the meatloaf comes out, let it stand for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove it to a platter (I had to cut mine in half!) and pour the pan juices into a skillet. Over medium-low heat, slowly whisk flour into pan juices. When incorporated and thickening, slowly whisk in stock to desired gravy consistency. Add in cooked mushrooms and onion just to warm, salt to taste, and serve immediately.
Written by: Shannon Oelrich