2 lbs lean ground beef (or a mixture of beef, pork, and veal)
1/2 lb mushrooms, very finely minced
1 TBSP shallot, e\very finely minced
2 TBSP white wine of your choice
2 cups minced vegetables*
1/2 cup beef stock
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup matzo meal
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
2 TBSP double concentrate tomato paste
1/2 cup catsup or chile sauce
salt, freshly ground black pepper
* Minced Vegetables: Use some combination of these:
- finely minced celery, including leaves
- onion, chopped very fine
- scallion, diced
- carrot (I always use one grated carrot because it adds moistness and sweetness)
- red or orange pepper, finely minced
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Place the mushrooms and shallots in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Stir them around a bit and let them cook. The first thing that will happen is that the mushrooms will give up a lot of liquid. When this occurs, add the white wine and turn the heat up. Stir constantly until the liquid is gone. Season with salt, pepper and (if you like that sort of thing) a little cayenne pepper. Turn the heat off and let this stuff (technically known as a duxelle) cool to room temperature.
Mix the stock, the egg, the cheese, the matzo meal and the tomato paste. Stir it together until it's a smooth consistency. Add the vegetables, the meat, the thyme and some salt and pepper. Using your hands, start to mix it all together. When it seems like it's partway mixed, add the mushrooms. Keep working it with your hands until the mixture is consistent.
Turn it into a casserole and smooth it out, making the edges about 3/4 the thickness of the middle. I use a large, low-sided oval baking dish so that the meat is not more than 2-3" thick in the middle of the loaf. If you use a pan that makes a thicker loaf, you will need to cook it longer.
Spread the catsup or chili sauce over the top of the loaf. Place in the center of the oven and bake until thoroughly cooked. For a 3" thick loaf, this will take about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it sit for at least 20 minutes before you cut into it. (If you don't rest it, then the juices will all run out all over your plate instead of being absorbed by the loaf. This will result in a drier, less tasty loaf.)