Saturday, February 21, 2009

Italian Meatloaf with Fig-Balsamic Sauce

We served this for Boss #1's 5th birthday party a while back. Meatloaf was something easy to prepare ahead and could feed a lot of people.

For this version, we decided to "jazz" our usual meatloaf up and do an Italian-inspired version. In addition to the usual suspects of onions, carrots, celery, we added our "Italian" ingredients as roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and blue cheese (OK, it's not an Italian blue, but still), to the ground beef mixture.

We had about 8 pounds worth of meat here, plus all the other ingredients. So, as illustrated above, I needed to stand on a stool to get leverage so that I could mix it all together.

We free-formed the loaf on a half-sheet pan. It was pretty big. We figured getting flat like this would make the whole thing quicker to cook.

Next, the sauce.

Italian-inspired still, so instead of the sweet ketchup-mustard combo, we went with a fig-balsamic glaze for this big slab o' meat.

I simply placed some dried figs in a small saucepan with balsamic vinegar and heated it on low until the figs softened and the balsamic vinegar had reduced. In hindsight, I would've chopped up the figs before the cooking process. Then, it was a matter of buzzing the whole mixture, seasoning with more sugar, balsamic vinegar as necessary, and salt and pepper.

I spread the sauce on top of the meatloaf and baked the whole thing at 375F until done. It might've taken about an hour or so.

Italian, see? It's endorsed by Mario Batali.*

This meatloaf was quite popular and several of our guests had seconds and thirds. It might seem like such humble fare, but "classed up" with some common enough "Italian" ingredients, it was worthy enough to be served at our boss' birthday party.

*LOL. That's actually the label from his Dutch oven.


  1. I can't imagine the taste of figs... but it looks good on top of the meatloaf. Must be good with fried rice and eggs for breakfast ;)

  2. wow...endorsed by Batali...hee, hee!

    Looks delicious, love the sauce, and blue cheese could be Italian -- think 'gorgonzola'.

  3. Wow, that is a wonderful take on meatloaf! Gonna have to try that

  4. This meatloaf sounds amazing! I like the sweet fig topping on such a savoury meatloaf,

  5. What a fabulous recipe and that sauce sounds awesome!

  6. Gay:
    Well, in this case, the sauce was something slightly sweet and slightly tangy. I haven't actually eaten a fresh fig yet!

    Joan Nova:
    We didn't have gorgonzola, just the DANISH blue cheese. Haha.


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