Cookin' ATVS Style: Cajun Stuffed Meatloaf

Can a meatloaf make you see God? Yes.

This is a recipe I've waited a long time to try out.

Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen is one of my favorite cookbooks. There are so many great recipes, and his various seasoning mixes just bring out so many flavors in a dish, well beyond spice. Also, he really likes referring to ketchup as catsup, which is funny to read in print. And this has always been a recipe that intrigued me. The ol' "mom doesn't really know what else to make" stand-bye, turned on its head and kicked up a couple notches. Cajun meatloaf.

And then, a few weeks ago during a dinner at the Chimes, I tried a special they had - boudin stuffed meatloaf. Louisiana Kitchen is one of my favorite cookbooks, and this has always been a recipe that intrigued me. The ol' "mom doesn't really know what else to make" stand-bye, turned on its head and kicked up a couple notches. Cajun meatloaf.

And then, a few weeks ago during a dinner at the Chimes, I tried a special they had -- boudin stuffed meatloaf. Mind. Blown. So simple. A chunk of boudin kneaded in with the rest of the loaf. I had to try it.

Ingredients

Seasoning Mix:

2 whole bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Meatloaf:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup ketchup
1.5 lbs ground beef
half-lb ground pork
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup very fine dry breadcrumbs

Half a pound of good, quality boudin*

Note*: I used about two links because that's what I had. Next time, I'll likely use a little more. I would also go a little over on the breadcrumbs again as well. The meat will generate a lot of moisture as it cooks, so the loaf can be slightly dry when you bake it. Helps create more contrast between the loaf and the boudin.

Instructions

1. Combine the seasoning mix ingredients and set aside.

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2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions, bell pepper, celery, green onion, seasoning mix, Tabasco and Worcestshire sauce and mix well. Saute well for at least 6 minutes, until the mixture starts to stick slightly. Stir occasionally and make sure to scrape the pan well.

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3. Add the evaporated milk and ketchup and mix well. Cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally.

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4. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature -- this is where things start to drag in cooking this, so make sure you have plenty of time.

5. Place your ground beef and pork in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and add the eggs, vegetable mixture mix well with your hands. Add the bread crumbs, and like I said, feel free to add more than the prescribed cup, as the fat in the meat (especially the pork) will really help keep this moist.

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6. Remove the casing from your boudin and prepare to add in. If it keeps its shape in a link you can just use that but if not, you might want to knead all that together into a log shape.

7. Knead the mixture into a loaf that fits your pan, but create something of a canyon down the middle. Add in the boudin, and close it up over the top so the boudin is encased. (Apologies for not having more construction pictures, but here's what the finished loaf will look like.)

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8. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes, then raise the temperature to 400 and bake for another 35 minutes.

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9. Slice and serve - this will serve at least six to eight. Obviously, having a your favorite gravy around is a great thing. I threw some together by making a roux with a quarter-cup of flour and oil, a cup and a half or so of beef stock and some garlic/onion powder and fresh rosemary leaves. Whatever works for you.

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I suggest a change of pants when you're done. Yes, it's that good.

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