Pork and apples… Apples and pork… There’s a theme going on here, and fennel also goes well with pork, just as rosemary partners well with lamb. And, I’ve discovered I LIKE meatloaf — if one leaves out the breadstuffs and grains! They’re moister this way, for one.
This is a recipe published over a year ago in the Chowstalker/Stalkerville Paleo Cookbook, an electronic-only cookbook that was released in limited quantities with an online package of Paleo health information, nutrition, exercise, and a few other cookbooks. While the Chowstalker people had considered releasing this as a stand-alone cookbook, this has never happened to date. My agreement for not posting this online covered three or six months post the original release — a time long since elapsed. Stalkerville is currently in hiatus, but the site carries a wealth of tasty recipes, including some of mine.
For a recipe based on ground beef and healthy sweet potato, check this recipe. Some day I’ll have to create a recipe that goes with ground lamb or venison… (Or maybe a vegetarian one with lentil.)
I still can’t move around much due to the broken leg, so here goes:
Prep Time: about 30-40 minutes including roasting of veggies
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Rest Time: five minutes
Serves: 4-5 with sides (such as a good salad)
Pork Meat Loaf with Cauliflower, Apple, Fennel
- 1 and 1/4 pounds of ground pork.
- 7-8 ounces cauliflower (about 1/8th of a large head), diced to around 0.5 to 1 inch segments or smaller. Discard the woody stem. You could optionally rice the cauliflower, but I like a less-blended texture.
- 1 large apple, cored and diced (Granny Smith used here). Leave skin on.
- 2 ounces white portion of fennel bulb, diced finely.
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (plus an extra 1/4 teaspoon reserved for later)
- 6 fresh sage leaves, finely diced
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or avocado oil, or coconut oil)
- 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce (I used home-canned Cortland, but there are some good commercially available unsweetened apple sauces out there.)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, reserved for later
- salt and cracked black peppercorns to taste.
This recipe is designed for an 8″ x 3 7/8″ x 2.5 ” mini loaf pan.
For apple and cauliflower:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
Combine the apple and cauliflower into a foil lined baking pan. Add fennel seed, some cracked pepper and a little salt. Add the oil and mix, using your hands. Roast for 20-25 minutes, then remove and allow to cool to where you can handle them.
Reset your oven to 375 F.
While roasting and cooling, prep the rest of the ingredients. If some of the cauliflower chunks are too large, a quick knife will bring them down to size – ½ to ¼ inch. I find it faster to bring the florets down to size once cooked.
In a bowl, mix with all other ingredients except the applesauce, extra cardamom, and the nutmeg. Again, hand mixing is best, and you might wish to add in a bit more salt and pepper, at your discretion.
Use a dab of oil to grease your mini loaf pan. Scoop the mixture into this pan, and flatten the loaf down with your spoon. It will cook better if not mounded up in the center. (If you are adapting to a larger recipe than given here, you may need two pans.)
At the 50 minute mark, if you are following the amounts recommended in the ingredient list, remove pan from oven, drain off liquids and discard the liquids, and spread the applesauce over the top of the loaf. Sprinkle the nutmeg and the additional cardamom over the top.
Return loaf to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with the dill-like fronds from the top of the fennel bulb, if available.
Yield: 4-5 servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes to roast cauliflower and apple; 1 hour to bake the meatloaf.
Suggested side: a salad of greens with thin slices of fennel bulb, chunks of apple, topped lightly with vinaigrette. Suggested condiment for the meatloaf, if desired: Dijon or an earthy brown mustard.
(Chowstalker wanted a section describing how best to save time and money on these recipes — personally I am leery of ground meat so mine came from a local farm.) Ground meats are reasonably affordable – wait for sales, stock up and freeze in small packages sized according to your likely total family serving size. You can also prep up a full head or two of cauliflower at a time, and freeze / briefly refrigerate for a few days the rest to save time for future meals. Simply use a larger pan for roasting. This extra cauliflower could find a future being added late into stir fries, or perhaps made into mashed “potatoes”. Note: freezing may turn the cauliflower a little “watery”. Simply, drain after thawing. (Personally, I’d keep the extra separate in the pan from that needed for this recipe — so it could have its own group of future flavorings!)