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Farmer’s Market Meatloaf

I’ll be honest and tell you up front that I nicked this idea from my friend AndreaAnna (who is an excellent cook) at Life as a Plate – meatloaf made entirely with ingredients from the farmer’s market.  For her recipe, it was entirely true; in mine, it’s more the result of what was in our freezer, meat-wise, what was in my refrigerator from the grocery store as well as the farmers market and what the hell was I going to do with the 473 garlic scapes I received in our CSA box?

As for the garlic scapes, the answer to that questions is, “Put them in damn near everything I cook until they’re gone.”

Garlic scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature. They are often removed to encourage the plant’s growth into larger bulbs, and when harvested while they are young and tender, the scapes are delicious.  They have a much milder garlic flavor than the actual bulb that becomes quite mellow and a bit sweet when cooked.

At any rate, you can use anything you have lying around in your fridge if you think it will taste good in a meatloaf.  I’ll probably make this again this week – not only do 473 garlic scapes take a while to use up, but Beloved declared this the best meatloaf I’ve ever cooked.  Of course, he loves meatloaf and tends to say that every time I make it, no matter the variation.  But, hey!  I’ll take all the compliments I can get, so for now this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever cooked.

Farmer’s Market Meatloaf

Farmer’s Market Meatloaf

serves 6 to 8, or Beloved for dinner and lunch the next day

2 pounds ground chuck, preferably grass-fed
2 medium shallots, peeled
6 garlic scapes
1/2 large red bell pepper
8 baby carrots
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Peel and quarter the shallots; quarter the bell pepper half as well. Toss all of the vegetables into the food processor and pulse until they are all finely chopped.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; using your hands, mix well then transfer to a 9″ x 9″ baking dish and pat into a loaf shape.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until cooked through but still moist. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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