December 15, 2009 | Meat & Poultry
I love meatloaf. My husband hates it. We both loved this one. Enough said? This is a meatloaf for meatloaf lovers and haters alike, and I’m convinced it’s because I used the four Italian P’s: pork, pancetta, porcini, and Parmigiano. How can you go wrong with that combo, really!??!
Start with dried porcini mushrooms (I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fresh but they must grow fresh somewhere) and rehydrate them in water.
While they are plumping up, dice up and fry up some thick sliced pancetta – when you remove the pancetta from the pan, keep the pork fat to cook the veggies.
The reason you grate the carrot and onion (I used leeks because I had them) is so they melt down to small pieces while you cook them in the fat from the pancetta.
While the veggies cook, squeeze the mushrooms of their soaking water (reserve the water) and dice them up…
Then pour the mushroom water over the vegetables and let them simmer until the liquid is all absorbed.
Like I said, this was all about the Ps, so here is my pork, which in my case I mixed with some ground turkey just because I had it, along with eggs, bread crumbs, the Parmigiano, fennel seed, sage, the mushrooms, the pancetta, and the porcinis.
I like to bake this type of meatloaf in a pan so that none of the juices can escape. If you let all of the fat and juices run off, you’re going to have a very dry hunk of meat, and you won’t be happy! I think that’s why my husband liked this meatloaf – it wasn’t as dry as some meatloaf can be. So there you have it: the secret to my spectacular pork meatloaf is all about those 4 Ps!
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup diced pancetta
1 large carrot, shredded
1 large leek, shredded (or onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground pork (or half pork and half beef or turkey)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Rehydrate porcini mushrooms in hot water until soft; squeeze moisture out and chop, reserving mushroom liquid. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook diced pancetta until crisp. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings. Add carrots, leeks (onions) and garlic to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add reserved mushroom liquid and continue cooking over medium low until all moisture has been absorbed. Combine vegetables and reserved pancetta bits with bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, and spices and mix well. Add meat and use a fork to combine fully, making sure not to pack down the meat too much. Press meat into an 8 x 8 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until cooked through, about 40 minutes.