Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chicken Apple Meatloaf with Tarragon Tomato Gravy

Boy, meatloaf is a tough subject to photograph.  I fix a lot of meatloaf around here, using tried and true faves and trying new twists on what has to be one of the ultimate comfort foods.  But I never post about any of them because that which is often drool worthy in person, just doesn't translate in photos.  Let's face it - meatloaves are often damn fugly.  I'm making an exception here because Chicken Apple Meatloaf is just different enough to be interesting and it was really, really delicious.  

The meatloaf itself is pretty basic, ground meat, onions, celery, bread crumbs and a few seasonings.  Ground chicken is a bit of twist but nothing too drastic.  It gets interesting with the addition of dried apples, an ingredient I've never used but am kind of in love with.  Diced bits of the apples add a subtle sweetness to the mixture that places against the generous pinch of cayenne I added in place of poblano peppers.  

The recipe calls for an ingredient I've not only used, but never heard of before - Pickapeppa Sauce.  Fun to say but not so easy to find.  The header says it is a Jamaican sauce made from mango, tamarind, tomatoes, and spices and can be found at my local grocery.   My local grocery doesn't stock Pickapeppa Sauce in it's international foods aisle and I didn't feel the need to track it down.  With Pickapeppa Sauce now on my radar, I will be keeping an eye out for it.  The Pickapeppa Sauce coats the meatloaf before it is placed in the oven and I simply substituted good ol' ketchup.  

On to the tarragon tomato gravy.  Another first for me was making demi-glace, a brown sauce that serves as the base for other sauces.  A little research has educated me that what I made is not truly a demi-glace but a shortcut version which is fine with me.  It does serve as the base for the tomato gravy which is pretty much little more than the demi-glace, tomatoes, tarragon, salt, and pepper.  I added a smidgen of sugar to counteract some of the acidity in the tomatoes and on first taste wasn't impressed with the gravy.  A few bites later and I was a convert.  It is perfect with the meatloaf and is an example of two recipes elevating one another.

A big hit around here, this will be a regular around here.  I have some demi-glace in the freezer but think that you could easily just use beef stock which would make this recipe easy and delicious!

Chicken Apple Meatloaf with Tarragon Tomato Gravy
adapted from Tupelo Honey Cafe, Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup diced celery 
1 cup diced sweet onion
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup diced dried apples (about 4 ounces dried apples)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce, or ketchup
Tarragon Tomato Gravy (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Saute the celery and onion for about 5 minutes, or just until tender.  In a bowl, combine the chicken, egg, bread crumbs, apples, sauteed vegetables, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Form the mixture into a loaf shape on the foiled lined baking sheet.  Cover the top of the meatloaf with the Pickapeppa Sauce or ketchup and bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until browned on top with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.  

Serve with the warm gravy.

Tarragon Tomato Gravy

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup demi-glace (recipe follows) or beef stock
1 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy saucepan, combine the tarragon, demi-glace or beef stock, tomatoes, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat and immediately reduce the heat to low to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Add the pepper the last minute of cooking time.  Serve immediately.  


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste

In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the vegetables.  Cook on high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, or until caramelized.  Add 1 cup dry red wine and cook uncovered over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by one-half.  Add 4 cups beef stock and 2 tablespoons tomato paste.  Stir together well, decrease the heat to medium, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until reduced by one-quarter.

Cool and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.  Can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
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  1. Wow, that sounds--and looks--amazing! I TOTALLY understand what you mean by the 'tastes great, photographs crappy' problem. It's funny how an awesome, umami-filled food like meatloaf can look bad, while a mediocre cupcake can look more tasty in the world of the blog-o-sphere.

    I must confess I strongly dislike traditional, flour-based gravy, so it's nice to see something that is more vegetable-based and flavorful.

  2. I haven't had meatloaf in forever! We always love having meatloaf sandwiches for leftovers though - and this meatloaf would definitely make for some great sandwiches afterwards =)


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