It's a Keeper: Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy

I'm trying to sneak in a few more recipes made in the hot oven before the Summer hits here in Northern California. (I live near Sacramento, where it gets unbelievably hot, so my oven gets its own little summer vacation.) It was cold and rainy this week, so Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy hit the spot.

If you think you don't like meatloaf, you have to give it a second chance with this one. You not only get the flavorful meatloaf itself, but you get a crazy yummy sauce filled with veggie on top. The sweet potatoes are so simple, but perfect with the spicy meatoaf and veggies.   Darcy absolutely loved this meal and thought it was fun to eat orange stuff, so there you go.

The list of ingredients looks long, but you probably have lots of it on hand already and even if you don't, there's nothing here that will break the bank.  Just a warning - this is not a 30 minute meal.  The meatloaves go in the oven for 35-40 minutes, so budget close to an hour for this one.  Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk [I had no idea, but Rach says buttermilk is actually very low fat.]
EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon plus more for drizzling
1 large red or yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds ground pork [This is the only expensive part of the meal.  I'm trying hard to buy meat on sale and store it in the freezer.]
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
Black pepper
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple of handfuls [I've been making my own breadcrumbs, thanks to encouragement from Rachael Ray!  Hey, any savings helps, right?]
2 tablespoons butter
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on how spicy you like it
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 to 5 scallions, sliced on bias, for garnish

Yields: 4-6 servings

[I did this first step after I put the meatloaves in the oven.  Otherwise, the potatoes will sit there for 40 minutes.  So, the first step was preheating the oven to 375.]  Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil, season with salt and cook to tender, 12-15 minutes. When potatoes are ready, drain and return to hot pot, mash with buttermilk to the desired consistency. Then, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in medium skillet over medium heat and add 1/4 of the onions and half the garlic to pan and cook to soften, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool. To cool onions add pork, a palmful of paprika, thyme, salt and pepper, mustard, egg and breadcrumbs. Mix to combine and form 4 laves 2 inches thick, drizzle liberally with EVOO and arrange on parchment lined baking sheet and roast 35-40 minutes until firm and golden.

To the same skillet, add butter and melt, add remaining onions and garlic, celery, pepper, salt and pepper and cook to soften 5-6 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over the pan and stir a minute more. Stir in stock then hot sauce, thicken over medium low heat a couple of minutes then turn heat to lowest setting to keep warm.

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