Lately, I’ve been enjoying reading cookbooks. Usually, to calm my mind before sleeping, I’ll read a novel or check on far too many blog posts. But every once in a while, I decide that cookbooks are the best nighttime reading. So, whenever my daughter and I go to the library, I wander through the cookbook section (in the 641 range) and take out a few that catch my eye.
This month, I’ve really enjoyed Rachael Ray’s Look and Cook. The book makes the claim that you could just make the recipe by looking at the picture, which I think is a bad idea unless you’re SUPER confident because the pictures aren’t quite that clear. But the pictures of the finished products are beautiful and the direction pictures do help if you’re unsure about a step.
There have been a few recipes from the book I really enjoyed. I already shared the Shepherd’s Pie stuffed potatoes and I really want to try out a few of the burgers. But this recipe is one I wasn’t sure we’d like and only decided to make because I had some buttermilk I wanted to use up. We were very pleasantly surprised by the result! It’s another impressive dinner you can serve when you have guests, or just keep to yourself (leftovers anyone?) to enjoy for a few days.
Mini Meatloaves with Buttermilk Sweet Potatoes (serves 6)
What you need:
1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped (divided)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (divided)
2 pounds ground pork
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup to 1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp butter
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
a few shakes of hot sauce (or more, to taste)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/4 of the chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic and saute until tender. Put in the fridge in a bowl to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground pork, paprika, thyme, mustard, bread crumbs, egg and cooled onion and garlic mixture. Form into 6 mini loaves and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then bake for 20-30 minutes (check on them after 20 minutes and see how it’s going).
Meanwhile, place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, season with salt, and cook for 12-15 minutes, until tender. When done, drain the potatoes and mash with the buttermilk until smooth and creamy.
While the potatoes boil, add the butter to the skillet you already used and melt it (this will be your gravy). Then add the celery and pepper and cook until tender. Add the tomato paste and stir for one minute. Sprinkle on the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in the chicken stock, then hot sauce and cook over medium-low for a few minutes until thickened. Leave warm until ready to use.
Once everything has finished cooking, slice the meatloaves into thin slices and arrange on a plate with mashed sweet potatoes on the side. Pour on some gravy and serve.