Makes:4 to 6 servings
This all-beef meatloaf starts by sautéing mushrooms and onions, then deglazing the pan with red wine for a punch of concentrated flavor. The addition of fresh thyme and rosemary, plus fontina cheese, adds even more savoriness. It’s all formed into a loaf and baked on a sheet pan to let some of the grease drain off. After about an hour, it’s ready to serve with a vinaigrette-dressed salad and a glass of red wine.
8 ouncescremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, cut into medium dice
2 1/2 teaspoonskosher salt
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 large eggs
12soda crackers (such as saltines), crushed into oat-sized pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoonWorcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
2 poundsground beef (15 to 20 percent fat content)
1 cup shredded fontina cheese (about 3 ounces)
Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set it aside.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the onions, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and season with pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are slightly browned and any liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Increase the heat to high, add the wine, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the thyme and rosemary. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl and set it aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk to break them up. Add the cracker crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, measured pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and stir to combine; set aside until the sautéed vegetables have cooled.
Add the meat to the cooled vegetables, breaking it up with your hands. Add the egg-cracker mixture and the cheese. Using clean hands, mix everything until evenly combined (don’t squeeze or overwork the mixture).
Transfer the mixture to the center of the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, form it into a 9-by-5-inch loaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F to 165°F, about 50 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let sit 10 minutes before slicing the meatloaf.