Slow Cooker Italian Meat Loaf with Sausage
- ACTIVE: 40 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 4 HRS 15 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
- 1 cup crustless fresh bread cubes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 pound sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup beef broth (not low-sodium)
- 1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, cover the bread cubes with the milk and let stand until the milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the beef chuck with the sausage. Add the milk-soaked bread and the eggs, grated cheese, ricotta, garlic, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, form the mixture into a 10-by-6-inch meat loaf. Drizzle the top with olive oil and rub the oil over the meat loaf. Broil about 6 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes, until richly browned.
- Pour the wine and beef broth into a large slow cooker. Using 2 long spatulas, transfer the meat loaf to the cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another hour. Add the mushrooms and cream and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat loaf registers 165° to 170°.
- With the same 2 spatulas, transfer the meat loaf to a platter. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. In a blender, combine half of the mushrooms with the cooking liquid and puree. Transfer the gravy to a sauceboat and stir in the remaining mushrooms. Slice the meat loaf and serve with the mushroom gravy.
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