Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vegetarian Meatloaf + Garlic Mashed Potatoes

One of my favorite restaurants in Memphis, Fuel Café, serves a vegetarian meatloaf that is so good that I have to get it every time I go. I just love a fresh update to old-fashioned comfort food like that. So, I decided to take a stab at making my own version of this 1980's-time-capsule treat.

As some of you could've guessed, my meatloaf features mushrooms. I just can't get enough of their meaty texture and savory flavor. But I didn't stop there -- I also added tempeh and walnuts for their flavor and hearty texture. This loaf is tender and delicious, especially served over my garlic mashed potatoes and topped with a parsley and tomato salad.

This can easily feed a crowd, so it might be something good to make for Christmas dinner. In the unlikely event of leftovers, there's nothing better than a few slices of vegetarian meatloaf dressed with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese between two slices of sourdough bread.

(Okay, I know the following looks like a long list of ingredients, but it actually comes together very quickly if you use a food processor to do all the chopping.)

Vegetarian Meatloaf
(serves 6)

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 medium carrots)

2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
8 ounces mushroom (finely chopped)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 block tempeh (crumbled)
1 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes (finely chopped)
1 cup walnuts (finely chopped)
1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon mustard (English, like Colman's)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup half and half

Ketchup Glaze*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the pan and stir. Cook until onion is translucent and beginning to brown (about 10 minutes). Add the bouillon cubes and stir into the vegetable mixture until incorporated. 

Place mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the mushroom, bell pepper, tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, ketchup, mustard, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper, thyme, paprika, and half and half. Work the mixture together with your hands until everything is well incorporated. Allow mixture to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

On a silpat-lined, rimmed baking sheet, place the mixture in the center. Using your hands, form a loaf that is about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and about 2 1/2 inches tall. The loaf should be smooth and have rounded edges. This will help the loaf stay together when serving. Place loaf in the oven for 25 minutes. Brush with the ketchup glaze and return loaf to the oven for another 10 minutes, brush another coat of glaze on top, and bake for a final 10 minutes.

Ketchup Glaze*

1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sorghum

Mix ketchup, soy, tabasco, black pepper, and sorghum until well incorporated.

Parsley and Tomato Salad

1 1/2 cups diced tomato
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup diced shallot
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar

Toss tomato, parsley, shallot, salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar together in a small bowl.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 cups peeled, diced potatoes
2 cups diced cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup half & half
8 cloves garlic (chopped)

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

Place potatoes, cauliflower, butter, half and half, garlic, salt, and pepper in a covered, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 12 minutes. Mash with a potato masher and then add the sour cream.