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As a teenager, Grant Achatz perfected his meat loaf–making technique at his parents' restaurant. But he had the most memorable version of his life only about 10 years ago, when he was visiting a girlfriend in Lansing, Michigan, and ordered smoked meat loaf. It inspired the pistachio-studded recipe here, which combines beautifully seasoned meat with the smoky Spanish paprika, smoked salt and ground bacon. More Comfort Food Recipes

Grant Achatz
December 2006

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Recipe Summary

active:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 40 mins
Yield:
8 to 10
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350°. In a spice grinder, combine the celery seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns and star anise and grind to a powder.

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  • 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.

Make Ahead

The baked meat loaf can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Notes

Smoked sea salt is available at specialty food stores and at SaltWorks.

Suggested Pairing

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.

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