Bison and Blue Cheese Meatloaf (Bacon Wrapped)

Meatloaf has always represented comfort food for me. My grandma’s meatloaf recipe was one of the first dishes I ever learned to cook and has provided me with a sense of continuity and stability whenever I have cooked it. The recipe has remained virtually unchanged except for a slight update in ingredients such as replacing onion soup with sauteed onions and garlic as well as the addition of a teaspoon of hotsauce. As far as cooking techniques the only change has been the addition of home ground top sirloin instead of store bought ground beef.

So it was with some trepidation but also some excitement that I read through the Fine Cooking article on meatloaf in the February/March edition and came up with some ideas of how to lift meatloaf out of being just comfort food and turn it into a star attraction.

Meatloaf Recipe: Based on the Cooking without Recipes – Meatloaf in the Feb/Mar Fine Cooking Magazine

2 1/2 Lbs. of Ground Top Sirloin Bison
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
1 medium white onion finely diced
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
4 cloves of garlic minced
3/4 cups red wine
4 oz. staled french bread in 2″x2″ cubes
1 cup skim milk
1/3 cup camb0zola cheese crumbled
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
300 grams double smoked bacon

I ground the bison myself, actually I put it through the grinder twice to get a nice texture from the meat. Once ground refrigerate the meat for about 30 minutes.

Saute the onions, garlic and shallots on medium-high heat in a tbsp of olive oil until they are browning. Then add the wine and reduce to a simmer until almost all the wine is absorbed. Set aside in a bowl to cool.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Meanwhile place the bread cubes in a 9″x9″ baking pan and add the milk. Soak for 5 minutes and turn over and soak for a further 5 minutes. Remove the bread cubes a few at a time making sure to squeeze out any extra milk. Chop the cubes finely and add to the meat.

Add the eggs, hot sauce, onion/garlic/shallot/wine mixture, cheese, worcestershire, tarragon, salt and pepper to the meat and mix by hand.

Grease a baking sheet. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf shape on the baking sheet. Lay bacon over the entire loaf, overlapping each slice slightly.

Place in oven for approximately 60-70 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160° F. Then raise the oven rack so that the top of the meatloaf is 6″ from the broiler and broil until the bacon is nice and browned. Remove the meatloaf and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

This was, by far the most amazing meatloaf me or my dinner guests have ever had and there are a couple of reasons for this. The first is the moistness thanks to the milk soaked breadcrumbs. Second would be the wine reduction with the onions, shallots and garlic and the third reason, of course, was the bacon.

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