Mini Meat Loaf & Mixed Vegetables
Small, but perfectly formed... that is exactly what my little meat loaf was this evening! A meat loaf tends to be one of those things that you consider being a family affair, of necessarily needing to be of a certain size to be worthwhile making... and of course it isn't! Otherwise I wouldn't have made a little individual one for myself this evening!
And obviously, the smaller the size, the shorter the time it will take to bake- and this here took only 30-40 minutes to finish off, including those vegetables. Which made it a nice and easy way to be able to indulge and enjoy in a wholesome family meal just for one- or maybe two lucky individuals... Depending on how hungry and generous you are- and if you have somebody to share with of course!
Simple and delicious, with fennel seed for a hearty, Italian flavor, this was basically my alternative to making a couple of burgers this evening- which had been my original intention. But, as is usually the case, whenever I think of making burgers, I always change my mind and go for something else! Don't hate me for it! Especially if I make something nicer instead!
My ingredients were: 200g of mixed ground pork and beef, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1/2 of a leek, 1/2 of a stalk of celery, 1 onion, 2 very small potatoes, 1 egg, 1 heaped tablespoon of bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds and a little fresh parsley.
This just made for a more satisfying and comforting evening meal- the oven takes care of it for you, once you have done that tiny bit of prep work... and you can just sit back, relax and enjoy a real treat after a long day at work.
Start off by peeling the carrot, washing the other vegetables and then cutting them into similar sized, smaller pieces. Pop the carrot, potato and celery into a little saucepan of boiling water and let them simmer for 5-6 minutes whilst you prepare the meat loaf. The leek and onion can go into the oven raw. But first- turn on that oven to get it hot and running!
For the little meat loaf, I simply mixed the meat, egg, bread crumbs and fennel seeds together with 1/2 of the onion and half of the parsley, both nicely and finely chopped. There are no two ways about it- the only way to do it is to use your hands- no fiddling around with spoons or forks or anything! Knead the ingredients together until they become a nice, constant mass and then form into a little loaf.
Set the par-boiled, drained, but still steaming vegetables into your baking dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil, then set your little meat loaf in the middle, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C.
After 20 minutes, remove the foil and let the loaf and the vegetables get lovely and golden brown for a further 10-15 minutes... or as long as you can stand to wait once they begin to look and smell so wonderful! The meat juices will give great flavor to the vegetables which will be lovely and tender by now... aren't you glad you made this rather than just have a burger in a bun?!?
If you can stand to wait- then do so! As with any roasted meat, it is always good to give it 3-4 minutes to "rest" before slicing, to give the hot juices time to settle... it's worth that extra little wait... word!
Serve with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper, a touch of finely chopped parsley... and enjoy! Of course you can make a gravy or sauce to go with it- and you can use some of the juices to do so, but I enjoyed mine plain and simple as they were- and totally enjoyed them!
There are lots of flavors going on here with this little medley of vegetables- and as you can see, you really don't need much in the way of ingredients to make a lovely, rich meal- and so easy too!
Keep your ideas and ingredients simple and the Autumn and Winter evenings will be as easy for you cooking-wise as those hot and lazy Summer nights... even if they are a lot darker and colder, haha!