- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 star anise pod, broken
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup minced fennel bulb
- 1 small celery rib, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 1 pound sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
- 3 pounds ground beef chuck
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup fresh pumpernickel bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt or smoked sea salt
- Prune Ketchup, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a spice grinder, combine the celery seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns and star anise and grind to a powder.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, minced fennel, celery, garlic, pimentón and the ground spices and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor, pulse the bacon until finely ground. In a large bowl, mix the bacon with the ground beef. Mix in the eggs and maple syrup followed by the vegetable mixture, bread crumbs, pistachios and salt.
- Pat the meat mixture into two 9-by-4-inch loaves and set them on opposite sides of a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of each loaf registers 160°. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the meat loaf into thick slices and serve with the Prune Ketchup.
The baked meat loaf can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Smoked sea salt is available at specialty food stores and at SaltWorks.
To complement this smoky, peppery, earthy meat loaf, look for a full-bodied Valpolicella from Italy's northeastern Veneto region that will echo the flavors of the dish.