Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Peppers in Winter

As I related last fall, red peppers have become a major crop around here. We have a couple of days in the fall of broiling and peeling, then I have a wealth of little quarter-pound packages in the freezer where that sunshine is available all winter long. So what do we use them for? They are wonderful, just thawed, on egg salad sandwiches (and probably on any sandwich). Perfect on pizza. I sometimes make a roasted red pepper sauce out of all the little pieces (hate to use up the nice big slices in the blender). Of course, any mixed vegetable dish benefits from a dash of color and flavor.

But putting them into meat loaf is one of my all-time success stories. They add a richness and subtlety when chopped and mixed with ground meat.

Here is a meatloaf that is neither dull nor intrusively spiced up. I make it as a full loaf pan recipe and freeze slices for future use. It could also be made into smaller loaves.

Meatloaf with Roasted Red Peppers

1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage, raw
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of lean ground beef, raw
1 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 t sugar
1 1/2 t salt
dash each garlic and celery salt
2 c breadcrumbs*
2 eggs
1 c milk
2T ketchup
2T pickle relish**
1 T horseradish
2 T hot paprika
2 T mixed chili powder***
1/4 pound roasted and peeled red pepper, chopped

Mix all together. Best to mix the meat with dry ingredients first (takes a lot of hand mixing), then the wet ones, finishing with the milk and eggs at the last. Don't be afraid of overworking the meat - makes for finer texture. Place in a greased loaf pan (will be very full) and bake at 375° for 1 1/2 hours.

*Use packaged bread crumbs if you must, but I dry heels and odd bits in the oven and grind them with my blender. They'll keep a long time dry on the shelf.
** Actually I use my green tomato relish, which has spices in it. Ordinary pickle relish should come close, or you could try a chunky salsa.
*** This is the kind of chili powder that has spices like cumin and oregano mixed in. I use Pendary's Original.


Mom said...

Looks great! Thanks.

Diana Dyer said...

I also roast red peppers in bulk in the fall, which I usually buy from Tantré. In fact, the variety I got this year looks just like your photo. It is virtually impossible to find organic sweet red peppers in most grocery stores when they are not in season, so like you, I just love enjoying a bit of summer, color, and flavor all year long when I pull them out of the freezer.

My husband and I are also the "back to the land" type of dystopians, a relatively new word for me. I enjoyed reading that post aloud to my husband! We both had some good chuckles of agreement along with some appropriate groans. The books Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and The King of Fish both were depressing to read as they so clearly showed that it must be human nature to not learn from past mistakes when profit is just within your grasp.

Vivienne said...

I have now removed the sugar from this recipe. Never missed it.