I’m not sure what the point of these are — they’re either very large meatballs or elfin meatloaves — but it’s hard to argue with their adorableness.
I guess the point is: these cook in 20 minutes vs. regular meatloaf, which can take 90 minutes. And I do love things that are pre-portioned into cute little individual servings. Ok, I’m on board.
There’s nothing revolutionary in Deb’s meatloaf. The vegetable mirapoix is cooked before folding it into the meat, and I’ve always been a fan of that approach because it means you don’t have those slimy bits of onion in the finished product. Maybe that doesn’t bother you but I almost always prefer my onions browned and, ideally caramelized. She does employ one of my favorite spices: smoked paprika and I urge you to try this stuff. It’s fun and potent.
Then there are the Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes. Is it just me or does it seem like we just made these? Ah yes, just a few months ago from Ruhlman’s Twenty. I’m going to make a sweeping generalization based on two examples and say that brown butter mashed potatoes are popping up in cookbooks almost as often as mac and cheese these days. And that’s fine with me; brown butter is good and mashed potatoes are good so I’ll make as many of these recipes as cooks and writers want to spew out.
The recipes are very similar. Boil some potatoes (Ruhlman’s are peeled, Deb’s are not), mash them up (or rice them, or do as I do and throw them in the stand mixer) and add the browned butter and dairy. Deb calls for buttermilk which I had high hopes would add a nice tang but I was disappointed. I’m going to rule in favor of Ruhlman’s. It doesn’t hurt that he gilds the lily a little by garnishing with an additional pool of browned butter on top of the finished product. You heard me: a pool of browned butter.
Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes are on page 187 of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The Meatloaves are right here courtesy of the Boston Globe.