UPDATE: printable recipe I wrote this post before I figured out how to offer a printable version – sorry about the delay!
It’s a daunting thing to cook for a chef. More so if he is, arguably, the best chef in New Brunswick or perhaps even the Maritimes. The only reason that I did not have a complete meltdown is that I have done it before. Chef Axel Begner and his wife Margret are two of the most gracious guests that has ever sat at my table and we have been friends for a long time.
Actually, they did not sit at my table. We were at another friend’s home. It was a group effort. I have always wanted to cook on our mutual friend’s stove. It is an old gas range that she lovingly refers to as her ‘workhorse’. I have lusted after it for years. Sunday afternoon she kindly allowed me to have my way with it.
I prepared a grand antipasti of Tuscan artisan salamis and cheeses accompanied by a platter of roasted bell peppers with chevre and basil puree, a cold green stringbean salad in a mint and garlic vinaigrette and a crispy focaccia with rosemary and coarse sea salt.
I borrowed our ‘primi’ or first course after the antipasti from Jamie Oliver. Seared scallops on smashed cannellini beans with slow-roasted vine ripe tomatoes topped with a lemony arugula salad and crispy proscuitto.
For our ‘secondi’, I prepared meatloaf. Not the 1950’s style hamburger loaf with tomato soup poured over it. Oh no – this was a combination of sirloin roast and pork shoulder freshly ground with dried fennel seeds. I added fresh herbs, eggs, soft ciabatta crumbs, garlic and onion. Rather than making a loaf, I spread it out on a baking sheet, covered it with plump sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and thick slices of creamy mozzarella then rolled it up. After roasting it, I served whole slices on pools of garlicky tomato sauce.
preheat oven 400*F
2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into 3″cubes
1 1/2 lb fatty pork shoulder, cut into 3″ cubes
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh good quality bread crumbs
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup V-8 juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
large bunch fresh basil leaves
6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
1 lb fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
Coarsely grind meats with fennel seeds.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground meats with eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, garlic, juice, wine and seasonings.
Place mixture on a parchment lined 16″ x 12″ baking sheet.
Spread out mixture to cover parchment.
Sprinkle meat with sundried tomatoes, basil leaves and 3/4 of mozzarella.
Roll up jelly-roll fashion.
Place in meatloaf in oven and roast for 1 hour.
Top with remaining mozzarella and roast until cheese is melted and golden.
Allow meat to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with tomato sauce.
I could have completely eliminated my stress by succumbing to high-end products like raw oysters and a big prime-rib roast, to ensure success. I love both…
My hunch was that Axel would enjoy a bit of creativity.
My hunch was right!
Thanks for reading.