Those of you who know me in real life know that I believe in calling a spade a spade. I don’t mince words and I don’t pull punches. So let’s just acknowledge the elephant in the room here and say straight out that meatloaf is very hard to photograph well. It is perhaps the least photogenic of all food items. Because no matter what you do to enhance it, no matter how many lovely toppings like caramelized onions and fancy mayonnaise, or interesting inclusions like chopped andouille sausage and toasted pecans, the fact remains. It is ground meat in loaf form and no matter how good it may taste, it’s not pretty. It is brown and ground and, well, loaf-like. Dress it up as you will, it’s meatloaf. I love the stuff and I am not ashamed to admit it. But I still don’t think it’s particularly pretty.
As unphotogenic as it is, good meatloaf is truly delicious. I think we’ve all probably had dry, flavourless meatloaf in our time, and that can be enough to turn us off this wonderful comfort food. But every food deserves a second chance, and meatloaf has made a huge comeback in recent years, even being served in fancier restaurants as comfort food with a gourmet spin. As long as care is taken to keep it moist and packed with flavour, I think meatloaf deserves its place at the gourmet table.
This particular meatloaf was actually inspired by my favourite burger recipe. Because really, burgers and meatloaf are cousins in the food world. The burger recipe is not one of my own, I can’t take any credit for it, but it’s one we’ve made over and over in this house, with some minor modifications. When I saw ground beef on sale the other day, I started thinking meatloaf. I stood in front of the cooling case, several pounds of ground beef in hand, thinking what kind of meatloaf I might like to make. When I spotted some andouille sausage further along in the case, inspiration struck. The burger version of this recipe is best grilled, and although we don’t have any snow on the ground, our grill is packed away for the season. But meatloaf is a great winter comfort food and I knew I could recreate all the wonderful flavours this way.
The Results: I almost don’t want to bother giving you results here, because this wasn’t much of a risk for me. I knew already that this seemingly odd combination of flavours is phenomenal. All I needed to do was to figure out how I wanted to work them in together in meatloaf form. In the burger, the blue cheese is just added to the top, but I decided to put it right into the meatloaf mix and it worked beautifully. That way, we could just pile the caramelized onions onto the meatloaf slices and top it with the spicy mayo. The pecans might seem like an odd addition to meatloaf (or to burgers, for that matter), but trust me, they work. They give it an interesting texture and add a little natural sweetness to the end result. This is definitely a meatloaf worth trying!
Andouille Beef Meatloaf with Cajun Mayonnaise
2 lbs lean ground beef
12 oz andouille sausage, cubed into 1/4 inch chunks
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tbsp oat fiber or coconut flour
1/3 cup beef broth
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of half a lemon
2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
For the meatloaf, preheat oven to 325F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine ground beef, chopped andouille, chopped pecans and crumbled blue cheese in a large bowl and mix until everything is well distributed. Stir in oat fiber or coconut flour, then beef broth and egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using hands, work ingredients in together until a cohesive “dough” forms.
Turn out beef mixture onto prepared pan and form into a low, long loaf shape. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature registers 140 to 150F on an instant read thermometer.
Meanwhile, for the mayo, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
For the onions, heat butter or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions to oil and stir to coat. Spread onions throughout pan and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and continue to cook 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Slice meatloaf and top each slice with caramelized onions and Cajun Mayo.
Serves 8. Each serving has 9.6 g of carbs and 3.7g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5.9g