Bacon Wrapped, Mac-n-Cheese stuffed,
Not only is the name a mouthful, but this sinful treat will entice all of your senses. The smell of bacon in the kitchen, the visual delight while preparing. And your taste buds, well, I always hope the end product pleases.
I will start with a basic meatloaf recipe, but if you have a particular one you like, substitute yours for this one. The one item I might object to is anything with ketchup (catsup). You can read about my distaste for that condiment here.
In addition you will need to have a Mac-n-Cheese portion ready to go for the stuffing. My recipe can be found here. This may be the most time consuming part of the recipe, so you should be sure to plan well. As you will not have to bake the mac-n-cheese for the meatloaf, I suggest allowing 45 minutes to prep this part of the recipe.
Once you have your macaroni and cheese ready to go, the next steps are fairly simple.
- 3 cups Mac-n-Cheese (not baked)
- 3 lb. 80 -20 ground beef (I use all beef, but use what you like best).
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 10 pieces bacon
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. (Does not include time for making mac-n-cheese.)
Once we have our mac-n-cheese prepped, the next step is to prepare the meatloaf. I would like to repeat that most any meatloaf recipe you like will work as a substitute. I prefer this simple and pure combination of flavors.
Place your meat in a large enough bowl to mix with your hands without spillover. Add your eggs, Panko bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, and worcestershire, and onion. I like to grate my onion with a cheese grater to add to the mixture. It creates an almost pureed onion that I think mixes well. Add salt and pepper (along with any additional ingredients you may like) and mix with hands.
Once mixed we are ready to build our masterpiece. Start with a sheet pan large enough to fix your meatloaf. You can build on a rack on the sheet pan to help create a drip pan for your meatloaf, if you have one.
Lay your bacon strips our side by side on the pan (or rack), be sure they are tight together.
Now split the meatloaf mixture into two parts. about 2/3 part for the base, and 1/3 for the top.
Form the base 2/3 section into a flat rectangle about "2 inches thick" x "the length of the bacon pieces" x "1/3 of the width of the bacon. The length and width are more important than the thickness. Create a well (or negative space, to keep with my math analogies) in the base with a hight edge around the sides. Place your mac-n-cheese in the well making sure you leave room around the edges.
You are ready for the top piece of the meatloaf. Don't be worried if you cannot get the top part in one piece onto the your loaf, you can work in once it is in place.
Now form the monstrosity with your hands, pinching and closing tight all the edges.
Don't be afraid to form the meatloaf to meet the needs of the bacon, but remember the bacon will be more pliable and can be stretched a bit to meet at the top. You may be thinking it would be better to have the bacon close under or the sides, but I have never had any issues with the bacon coming apart. You could roll your meatloaf, I suppose, but it never seemed necessary.
Next wrap the bacon around the meat and try to have each piece cover as much of the meatloaf without overlapping.
I want to apologize for the end product pictures of this post. They in no way reflect the photographer or his assistant. This was one the last shoots of the day and frankly I was emotionally drained. I tend to plan a very aggressive menu when I get the opportunity to work with them, and this day I over reached.
Place the meatloaf in the oven at 375 degrees and bake for up to 1 hour. It may take a little less, but you can usually test the doneness by the bacon. When it gets good and crisp, the meatloaf should be done. Temp should be around 155 degrees for the meat, but this can be deceiving if you don't place your thermometer properly. You want to be sure to get only meat, and not the mac-n-cheese.
I know you don't need to see a picture of meat in my oven, but I couldn't resist putting this one in the post. Other than my oven not being perfectly clean, I thought it was pretty cool.
When done, let rest for 15 minutes. Serve slices the size of each bacon strip. When I make the mac-n-cheese on the same day, I reserve some of the cheese sauce for a drizzle (optional, of course).
You can see here how using a rack to drain the fat and any roving cheese might make for a better out of the oven presentation but you can transfer fairly easily to a serving platter to avoid the grease/cheese mixture on the pan.