I decided to start out my meatloaf journey with a creation of my own. Somehow I got Meatloaf Wellington stuck in my head and I thought I would try it. We’ll call this the feasibility test.
I had never heard of Meatloaf Wellington, but I thought … Beef Wellington is beef, duxelles and a pie crust served with a sauce, no big deal. Let’s amp it up a bit and stuff the meatloaf with more mushrooms and Havarti cheese.
I decided to hedge my bets a little and make two meatloaves for dinner “just in case”. First I made my standard basic meatloaf base: ground beef, panko crumbs, onion (for this one I used shallots since I had them for the duxelles), egg, catsup, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard. I often also add a little chopped green pepper or other items, but this is my usual jumping off point. I don’t usually measure when I am making my basic meatloaf. Start with my meat and then add binders and flavoring till I think I have what I am looking for. Some chefs suggest making a small test patty and frying it up to check the taste before cooking the whole meatloaf, but meatloaf is pretty forgiving, so I trust my instinct.
For the Meatloaf Wellington I decided to go with my basic idea and then do a search for Meatloaf Wellington while my creation was in the oven. I did have to look up a recipe for duxelles since I have never made it. In fact, I’ve never had Beef Wellington.
I took my second basic meatloaf, split it in half and put down a line of coarsely chopped mushrooms and Havarti cheese and sealed it up and shaped it with the other half of the meatloaf. I made my duxelles, basically finely chopped mushrooms and shallots sautéed in butter, and layered it about a quarter inch thick over the top and sides of the meatloaf. The whole loaf was then covered with a pre-made pie crust.
Both meatloaves were baked at 350 F for about an hour.
My basic meatloaf was as good as ever. Just like grandma used to make.
Meatloaf Wellington? As a feasibility test it was a success! Meatloaf Wellington has possibilities…… Negatives: Too much moisture! I did make my basic loaves separately rather than making the mix and then splitting it in half and I did notice that the mix was wet when I mixed it and shaped it into a loaf. I had added extra bread on top of the panko crumbs, but it wasn’t enough to rescue the loaf. In addition, I think I should have made the loaf on the dry side because the duxelles also added moisture to the mix.
The Havarti cheese in my stuffing pretty much leaked out of the core and into the surrounding area of the meatloaf. It did add a creaminess, but it wasn’t what I had envisioned. I’m sure I’ll get some ideas about different ways to include a stuffing in meatloaf as I work through “A Meatloaf in Every Oven.”
When I did an online search for Meatloaf Wellington, I found that none of the other versions used a duxelles and they used a puff pastry that was added and browned after the meatloaf was cooked. To me, the duxelles plus pie crust style crust is what makes it Meatloaf Wellington. I would be more likely to call the versions I saw, “Meatloaf en croute”.
I peeled the crust off the Meatloaf Wellington and saved the ground beef and mushroom mixture in the freezer for another day…. some ideas…. beef and mushroom ravioli, add it to marinara for a beefy mushroom sauce…
I’ll let you know how it gets repurposed!