With less than a week to Christmas, things are getting crazier each day! We still have loads to get done before Christmas Eve and Day, starting with coming up with a list of appetisers we’re going to make, getting the guest room ready for my two lovely friends from New Zealand who are joining my family for Christmas Eve, finding presents and visiting friends and family while I’m in Belgium for a couple of days. Busy busy busy! But in the midst of all that madness I’m hoping to make this easier for you by giving you some new recipes that you can make for Christmas, because it really doesn’t always have to be the classic Turkey or Ham dinner.
I always feel that offering a few options to your guests makes sure that everyone leaves the table happy and satisfied. Have any vegetarians in the family? Why not make them my vegetarian Wellington? Unfortunately I don’t have any recipes yet for vegans but today’s recipe can also be made completely gluten and wheat free, which is sadly something I have to eat myself too, but more on that later!
I’ve always been a big fan of meatloaf, and it’s one of my favourite winter lunches as well: sliced meatloaf with cherries and cherry sauce! But since it’s Christmas, it has to be a bit more special so for my main course for Christmas I decided to make a meatloaf as well, but with some great extra ingredients such as honey glazed bacon wrapped around and onion, mushrooms and dried cranberries on the inside. It’ll give your meatloaf a bit of an extra dimension and adds more flavour to it. I usually add a load of herbs to my meatloaf as well as you usually can’t buy mince in Ireland that’s already herbed/spiced, unlike the mince in Belgium. However for this recipe I didn’t add anything other than the onion, mushrooms and cranberries as they’ll already give loads of flavours anyway.
As you can see I use breadcrumbs in this recipe, which is of course not at all gluten or wheat free, but it’s so easy to make your own gluten free breadcrumbs if you have no gluten free panko breadcrumbs available in store (which is very often the case). Simply buy your favourite gluten or wheat free bread, put the slices in a food processor and mix until you get a very fine mixture. Then put that onto a dry plate into the oven at 200°C and roast until crispy. And voila, you have gluten free breadcrumbs!
You obviously won’t be able to serve it with potato croquettes in this case but you can make your own gluten free potato croquettes as well, if there’s no option to buy it in the supermarket.
One last tip I want to give is to not buy mince in the supermarket but simply go to your local butcher, the quality will be so much better and it’s always good to shop local for both your gifts and your food.
Serves: 4-5 people
- 1kg of good quality beef mince
- 200g panko golden breadcrumbs (see above how to make gluten free)
- 4 eggs
- 1 large onion
- 150g washed white mushrooms
- 100g dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 300g streaky bacon
Put the mushrooms and onion in a food processor and chop very finely.
Mix the mince with breadcrumbs and eggs with a fork for a couple of minutes. Once the egg is mixed in well, continue to mix with your hand and add onions and mushrooms along with the dried cranberries. Make sure everything is well divided, so that no one ends up with a slice without anything in it.
Shape into a loaf, don’t make it too thick or the core might not get properly cooked. It’s better to make it into a long loaf than into a tall or thick one. I recommended making it into a 35-40cm long loaf when using 1kg of mince. Then carefully wrap the bacon around it. You can either just wrap it all parallel to eachother, wrap it in a checker pattern (so under & over both vertically and horizontallt) or wrap it up like a present in the same way I did. To make it look lik a present I first wrapped it all parallel along the length of the loaf but left the centre empty. Then I put two slices of bacon along the length of the meatloaf and then covered up the part I left empty before, by going on top of the bacon we just put on there lengthwise.
As a finishing touch I glazed it with honey.
Pop the meatloaf in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 180°C until the bacon is crispy and the meat is no longer pink. However, if your meatloaf is quite thick I would recommend at least 1 hour, so that the bacon is crispy and the loaf itself gets a bit of a crust too. I personally quite like it when the core of the meatloaf isn’t too moist so I always cut up the meatloaf afterwards and then put the sliced meatloaf back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.
Serve with warm apple sauce, cranberry sauce and potato croquettes or mashed potatoes (which is ideal for gluten intolerant guests)
Plates from the Carraig Donn Delphi Winter Wonderland Collection.