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Slow Cooker Italian Meat Loaf with Sausage

  • ACTIVE: 40 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 4 HRS 15 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • MAKE-AHEAD

  1. 1 cup crustless fresh bread cubes
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  4. 1 pound sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
  5. 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  7. 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  8. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  9. 1 medium shallot, minced
  10. 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  11. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  12. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  14. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  15. 1/2 cup beef broth (not low-sodium)
  16. 1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  17. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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°.
  5. 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.