Veal and Chestnut Meatloaf
Bursting with autumnal flavours, this is a delicate and different meatloaf recipe.
Serves: 6 • Prep Time: N/A • Cook Time: 60 mins
Veal and Chestnut Meatloaf
An unusual, satisfying approach for a veal meatloaf recipe.
This meatloaf recipe is based on the stuffing mix that I cram relentlessly into my midwinter goose to sop up some of the delicious juices the bird oozes as it cooks. However, as similar as goose stuffing and meatloaf mixes might appear at first blush, there is a little tinkering required to turn it from a sensational side stuffing to a show-stopping meatloaf main. I also have a few suggestions that you may or may not wish to incorporate if you’re feeling adventurous with your meatloaf preparations.
The original stuffing recipe takes mashed potato and uses it as a glorious sponge for the goose’s fat. The other ingredients—minced chicken, puréed chestnuts, and chestnut’s ‘partner in culinary crime’, sage—are there to complement and enliven the mixture as well as bring it some seasonal verve. But a meatloaf recipe comprising largely mashed potato would be no more than an uninspired potato loaf, especially without the addition of goose fat; thus a little rebalancing of the ingredients for this meatloaf is required. I’m not convinced that minced chicken alone has a sufficiently high fat content to deliver a tasty meatloaf, either.
Both the veal and the chestnut are comparatively sweet flavours that are balanced by the savouriness of the sage.
I have, then, swapped the minced chicken for veal in this meatloaf, and reduced the mashed potato significantly. In fact, if I were making this as a smaller meatloaf, using perhaps 450g (1 lb) of meat, I would likely omit the mashed potato altogether from the recipe.
As for chestnut purée, while it might sound as if it’s something that appears in supermarkets around Christmas, it is usually available all year round. It comes in a can and while it’s pricey (for something that comes in a can), it shouldn’t break the bank. Just be sure that you pick up the unsweetened version.
If you’ve not encountered chestnut purée before now, a word of warning: when you open the can to find a pale beige, densely packed goo, it is not particularly appetising. Do not be alarmed! It is perfectly delicious and the perfect addition to your meatloaf recipe, as well as to stuffing and a host of, suprisingly, desserts.
This meatloaf recipe requires roughly half a can of chestnut purée (I’ve not seen it available in smaller quantity), which means you might be wondering what you should do with the other half. Chestnut is a wonderful partner for mushrooms; grab some puff pastry and use it to make mushroom and chestnut mini-wellingtons. Chestnut and celeriac mash is a decadent alternative to mashed potato. Or you could scale the heights of a Mont Blanc. Let your imagination run riot and don’t forget to share your ideas, and their results, on on the Forq app!
Both the veal and the chestnut are comparatively sweet flavours that are balanced by the savouriness of the sage. However, if you want to go further, I recommend either frying off some pancetta and adding that into the meatloaf mix or wrapping your meatloaf in rashers of streaky bacon. If you like the sound of the bacon-meatloaf you have two options: You can either gently stretch the rashers and use them to line your loaf tin. Or you can mould the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape by hand, lay it in an oven dish, and wrap it in the bacon rashers. Glorious, however you cook it.
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Here’s how to make this delicious meatloaf recipe
You can use cold, left-over mashed potato if you have it, but should you not, begin by boiling and mashing one large potato. I wouldn’t advise adding any butter or milk if you’re making it specifically for the meatloaf as it could turn too sloppy, but do season it. Allow it to cool.
While the potato is cooling, set your oven on to 170º Celsius (340º Fahrenheit), and make your breadcrumbs. Whether you wish to toast your bread or not is entirely up to you. Toasted bread will have a crisper texture and make finer crumbs. It will also have a slightly sweeter taste as the toasting process begins to caramelise the bread’s sugars. Fresh breadcrumbs have a slightly more ‘clumpy’ texture and a less complex flavour. Whichever kind you decide upon, it’s easiest to break up the slices of bread and give them a quick whizz in the food processor.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatloaf’s ingredients, using your hands to bring it together to a smooth consistency. The chestnut purée makes this a very sticky meatloaf mixture, far stickier than any other you are likely to have encountered. If adding breadcrumbs to a meatloaf that contains mashed potato seems like overkill, you’ll understand why they’re needed when you plunge your hands into the mixture.
As soon as the meatloaf is holding its own sticky shape, transfer it to an oiled loaf pan and bake it in the oven for about an hour. Do check it after 45 minutes, though. You’ll know that it is ready when the top is golden and the edges of the meatloaf have started to pull away from the pan.
I would recommend serving this with a light gravy, anything too heavy will overwhelm the delicate flavours of the veal and chestnut, some buttered new potatoes, and whichever greens are in season. If you’d like to serve a gravy with it (and who wouldn’t?) do make sure that it is a light gravy, not a strong, beefy, red wine one. That would overwhelm its delicate flavours. Think white wine and chicken stock, or veal stock if you happen to have it! It deserves something a little more elegant than mashed potato, however delicious it is.
- Mashed potato from one large potato, allowed to cool
- 1 onion, minced
- 750g (1-and-half lb) minced veal
- 2 slices bread, made into crumbs
- 200g (7oz) chestnut purée
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 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.
Forq Test Kitchen: Meatloaf Recipes
The full FORQ meatloaf recipe archive, straight from our FORQ Enthusiasts.
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