I was going to make chili today, but fell asleep at my desk about the time I’d have started the beans. By the time I remembered after waking again, it was too late.
Just as well, as we had beef the past two nights. The first was Deb’s meatloaf. The second was an experiment in using the leftover meatloaf. It may have been sparked by unconsciously remembering my mother making meatloaf burgers in sauce when I was in my teens. We had meatloaf burgers regularly, perhaps to stretch the meat, or perhaps to save time over baking in meatloaf form, or maybe both.
When you get meatloaf at a restaurant, gravy seems to be the norm. I never had gravy on meatloaf when I was a kid. In fact, gravy wasn’t a big thing at all. Since I discovered my talent for making gravy, I’ve come to see how it might have developed as a way to increase the richness and food value of a meal cheaply. Not to mention being a way to impart extra flavor or moisture. I made gravy once for meatloaf, a while back, but forgot this time. When we decided the leftovers would be supper the next night, as opposed to lunch – usually I have a meatloaf sandwich – I decided to make some.
I wanted it to be different, though.
I crumbled up a small hamburger I defrosted, this being to supplement the fact the meatloaf itself was limited. I cooked it with some butter and spices. I set out to complement the meatloaf, which was heavy on oregano, and otherwise spiced mainly with cumin.
I used some garlic powder, red pepper, black pepper, oregano, cushed bay leaf, cumin, and a wee bit of ginger and allspice. At this point Deb was making yummy smell noises from the living room.
Usually when I make gravy I heat a cup of water for two minutes in the microwave and drop two boullion cubes into it. I used one.
With the beef cooked, I moved that to the side, added 2 – 3 more tablespoons of butter and started adding flour to cook in it when that was mostly melted. It solidified right up so I started dribbling beef stock in, stirring, adding more flour, and so forth. It was two heaping tablespoons of flour. Then I added the rest of the beef stock.
Now the departure: I added half a cup of ketchup. This was too much, so I ended up doing far more adjusting than I would have liked. Tomato soup, paste or sauce could also have worked, while varying the exact flavor and how it might have needed tweaking. I am sure that what my mother served with meatloaf burgers was tomato soup based, if not essentially nothing more than tomato soup.
After the ketchup and stirring in the crumbled burger, I had to add more water and then more flour. In adjusting the taste, which had an oddly astringent quality, I added more cumin a couple times, a pinch more red pepper, black pepper, and brown sugar. I also added an entire beef bullion cube to the gravy and let it dissolve in. So much for using only one.
The idea was to get moderately spiced beef gravy tinged with ketchup – another item used in the meatloaf too – rather than ketchup flavored gravy. I succeeded, after all the tweaking.
Once I was happy with the gravy, I set slices of cold meatloaf in it and covered the pan for a couple minutes. Then I flipped them, stirred the gravy around them a bit and covered them longer. It was a nice way to heat the cold meatloaf.
We ate the meatloaf and gravy/sauce over rice, with lima beans on the side. The kids devoured it! Valerie was more interested in the lima beans, but she ate everything. Sadie especially loved the meatloaf and gravy. Deb enjoyed it, despite having been initially concerned over my adding ketchup. She thought I succeeded in my goal of complementing the flavor of the meatloaf in how I spiced the gravy.
I’d do something like it again, though it would remain subject to experimentation.
Sounds weird, eh? I’ll have pictures, but they’re still on the camera now. The pictures make it look great.