Posh Meatloaf With Stilton, served with Port Gravy
If you didn’t think meatloaf could be sophisticated, this rich offering will make you think again.
Serves: 4 • Prep Time: N/A • Cook Time: 45 mins
Meatloaf Studded With Stilton
This meatloaf recipe includes a hearty stilton cheese and is served with port gravy
Meatloaf recipes are not often associated with ‘sophistication.’ ‘Satisfying,’ definitely. ‘Comforting,’ probably. ‘Homey,’ yes. But ‘sophisticated?’ Not really. This meatloaf recipe, however, is a recipe that comes as close to sophisticated as you are likely to find. The meatloaf takes inspiration from traditional British roast beef served with blue Stilton and port gravy. Of course we’re making a meatloaf here rather than a roasted rib of beef, and rather than the Stilton cheese being crumbled into the gravy it has been studded into the meatloaf; but this is a meatloaf recipe that you can serve to guests and not feel like you’ve served your mid-week standby.
Stilton, if you’ve not encountered it before, is a strongly flavoured British blue cheese that must be made in the UK counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, or Nottinghamshire (per its EU Protected ‘Designation of Origin’). You can buy milder white varieties, but for this meatloaf recipe you want the robustly flavoured blue-veined version. Stilton isn’t impossible to come by if you don’t live in the UK, but you may need to ask in a deli rather than rely on a supermarket. Should you struggle to find Stilton, substitute it with something like Gorgonzola or Roquefort. For UK-based cooks, Colston Bassett is an excellent but still-affordable Stilton, whether for eating or for hiding as salty-creamy nuggets of tastiness in a meatloaf.
If you wanted to make this meatloaf even more posh, you could bake the meatloaf in individual loaf pans instead of one large one. Just reduce the cooking time accordingly.
I think it is worth buying the best meat that you can afford for meatloaf, but for this recipe, you really do want to go all out. Look for high quality ground steak with good fat content. The fat is important not just for flavour but because it helps bind the meatloaf together. If you can’t find anything ready-ground for your meatloaf, ask your butcher to mince some steak for you. A butcher will be able to advise you on the meat that best suits your meatloaf recipe, whatever that might be. They’re a valuable resource, so please bring them your questions.
This gravy is a variation on a port and Stilton gravy found in Nigella Lawson’s Christmas book. It is sweet, yes, but that acts in harmony with salty cheese and the savouriness of the meatloaf. As well as complementing this meatloaf deliciously, it would work with steak, or even liver if you like it. It’s a good gravy recipe to have up your sleeve in a pinch.
This recipe serves four adults comfortably, and you could possibly stretch it to six, especially if it follows a starter, is accompanied by some suitably refreshing sides (balance on the plate keeps the meatloaf from seeming heavy), and precedes a decadent dessert (end on a high!).
If you wanted to make this an even more posh version of meatloaf, you could bake it in individual loaf pans instead of one large one. Just reduce the cooking time accordingly.
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Here’s how to make this delicious meatloaf recipe:
Heat the oven to 170º Celsius (340º Fahrenheit) while you prepare the meatloaf.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground steak with the rest of the meatloaf ingredients, excepting the cheese, until smooth and holding a shape.
Split the mixture into two, and press the first half into the base of an oiled two pound loaf tin. Dot this half of the meatloaf with two-thirds of the cubed cheese and then cover it with the other half of the mixture.
Place the meatloaf in the oven for about 30 minutes, after which time you’ll need to get it out and carefully press the remaining cubes of cheese into the top of the loaf. You might need the assistance of the point of a knife to do this. Return it to the oven for another 15 minutes to finish cooking. The top of the meatloaf will be browned and the cheese melting when it’s finished.
As the meatloaf is finishing, prepare the port gravy. Heat a tablespoon of oil or dripping in a saucepan and use it to cook the onion with a pinch of salt until it is soft and glassy-looking. There’s no need to hurry this, do it over a low flame for five or ten minutes. Add the two tablespoons of flour and cook until the onion and flour forms a sticky mass.
Carefully pour in the port and use it to form a thick, ruby-coloured paste. Next add the beef stock in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly, or even whisking, to prevent it from forming lumps. Cook this over a medium-high flame so that it can thicken into a rich and delicious gravy. About five minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir in the redcurrant jelly and season with salt and pepper. Don’t forget to taste it and adjust the seasonings as necessary. If you like the onion slices in your gravy, as my family does, serve it as-is; if you prefer a smooth gravy, pass it through a sieve or whizz it in the food processor.
When the meatloaf has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand for ten or fifteen minutes. You might find that the fat from the cheese and the beef has accumulated in the bottom of the tin, in which case carefully lift the meatloaf from the tin and transfer it to a warmed serving platter. (Please don’t tip the fat down the sink as it wreaks havoc with the pipes. It makes excellent fat balls for birds!) You can bring it to table with the port gravy, roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, and steamed broccoli.
- 600g (20oz) ground steak
- Half a large onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Breadcrumbs made from one or two slices of stale bread
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 75g (3oz) stilton cheese, cut into 1cm (half-inch) cubes
- Half a large onion, sliced in half moons
- Oil or dripping
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 125ml (4 floz) port
- 500ml (1 pint) beef stock
- 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
- Salt and pepper
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Who’s Cooking Today
Daniela Bowker allegedly lives in the UK and supposedly writes for a living. She definitely travels and eats food for fun. She’s tried a sweet bean stew in a backstreet eatery Hong Kong, pad thai on a street corner in Bangkok, and had meroavi Yerushelami at the market in Jerusalem, not to mention reindeer in Norway, caponata in Sicily, and tagine in Morocco.
She often manages to work food analogies into her everyday writing, so do be on the look out for likening selfportraits to lasagne and multiplicitous images to cakes over on Photocritic. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram, and on Flickr, too.
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