Meatloaf, meatballs and hamburger patties are just some of the common ways we use ground meat. When faced with plain ground meat, we are sometimes perplexed at how to make it interesting. What changes could be made to vary the flavor enough to entice a family?
Recipes for meatloaf abound. Most of them call for the addition of onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper as a basis. I have never been fond of meatloaf, though I make it on occasion. As I do not like raw onion in meatloaf, I always fry it until golden brown before adding to the ground meat. Whether using ground beef, turkey or chicken, whatever meat you choose can be enhanced by more ingredients than those just mentioned. Any recipe for meatloaf can also be made into meatballs or hamburger patties.
Have you ever added mashed potatoes to hamburger meat? I learned this trick over 30 years ago. Cook and mash some potatoes, then add some to the ground meat. The mashed potatoes can be added up to not quite half the volume of the meat, at your discretion. This addition will loosen the texture of the meat, so eggs are nearly a must, but the flavor is excellent, and will have the family guessing at what made this meatloaf taste so good. This will stretch the amount of meatloaf or hamburger patties you get from a pound of the meat.
Mushrooms will also stretch the volume of the meat. Whether you like mushrooms or not, if chopped very finely they will blend right in and be unnoticeable except for the added flavor. There are many varieties of mushrooms. If you have dried mushrooms, soak them in hot water until softened, then chop finely. You may use canned mushrooms, or fresh. If using fresh mushrooms, it is best to fry them well before adding to the meat, as they expel a great quantity of water while cooking, and could otherwise waterlog the meat mixture.
Other Interesting Additions
Some other things you may not have thought of to flavor ground meat are ground nuts or seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, sesame or sunflower seeds. Depending on the overall flavor combination, using sesame seeds with some hoisin sauce would make for a nice oriental flavored meat. Using nuts and cheese together is also a great combo. Try chopping olives or capers finely and using them to add piquancy. Adding extra vegetables, such as grated carrot, finely diced celery or green pepper add nutrition as well as flavor. Applesauce is another really splendid addition to meatloaf, giving a little sweetness to the finished product. Bacon can be fried and chopped and added to the meat, or strips of bacon could be laid over the meat before baking.
Everyone knows about using bread crumbs as a binder for meatloaf, meatballs or meat patties. Most also know about using oatmeal as a binder. Other possibilities are things like brown rice flour, and even psyllium husks. Eggs will also help hold the meat together, and how many eggs are needed will be determined by the volume of other ingredients added into the meat. If the overall bulk of the meat is nearly doubled, you will probably need more eggs to hold it together. If not, then one of the other binders should hold the meat together quite well, possibly without eggs.
Try this Recipe for My Meatloaf:
2 pounds lean hamburger meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup walnuts, finely grated
4 tablespoons psyllium husks
2 small cans mushrooms, drained, chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, for top of meatloaf
Saute the onion in the olive oil until nicely browned, then add in the garlic to saute for another minute. Place the ground meat into a large bowl, and add in all the ingredients except the last 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. Mix well with hands until combined. Place mixture into a large loaf pan, or two smaller pans. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours for the larger pan, or 1 hour for the smaller pans, until done.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey. You will find many more recipes and helpful tips on my web site. I am on Facebook at A Harmony of Flavors and share a recipe or tip each day to the fans that have liked my site. I hope to see you there soon.