In the region of France known as Normandy, meat is often paired with fruit - in this meat loaf, it's pork and prunes. The port wine adds more sweetness to the dish, which is further complemented by the sweet licorice flavor of aniseeds. Because there's no guarantee that packaged ground pork comes from a lean cut, you might want to ask your butcher to grind a piece from the loin. Served with potatoes and asparagus spears, this meat loaf makes an elegant entrée for guests.
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon aniseeds
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup port or other sweet red wine
1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 (1-ounce) slices pumpernickel bread, torn into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a small saucepan with cooking spray, and place over medium heat until hot. Add aniseeds; sauté 1 minute. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine and prunes; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine prune mixture, mustard, salt, pepper, and bread in a large bowl; toss well to moisten bread. Let mixture cool slightly.
Crumble pork over prune mixture, and stir just until blended. Pack mixture into a 9 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until meat loaf registers 160°. Let meat loaf stand in pan 10 minutes.
Remove meat loaf from pan; cut loaf into 16 slices.
Sandwich suggestion: Serve leftover meat loaf slices on pumpernickel bread with herbed mayonnaise and lettuce.
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This recipe has as much to do with Normandy as my grandmother, who came from Georgia. Stuff like aniseed, prunes and rye bread or pumpernickel are by no means connected with Norman cuisine (heavy on the apples and cream sauces). How do I know? My wife of 42 years is French, from Bordeaux. South of Normandy, it's true, but she sure knows her French cooking. This is not to knock the recipe, it sounds very interesting. But aniseed is used, if at all, in Provence, prunes up in the north near Amiens and Lille, and rye bread or pumpernickel over in Alsace. Try the recipe, to be sure! But don't tell your family that it's "Normandy" cooking!
This recipe is different and tasty. I ground my own pork loin chops and the loaf came out tender and juicy. The only substitute I made was to use french bread in place of the dark bread. The port, prunes and anise add just the right amount of sweetness.
This was a fabulous meat loaf and a nice change from the usual "loaf". So easy to make and great flavor. I used ground turkey instead of pork, cherries instead of prunes and added pine nuts and it was amazing. Made the above changes as this is what I had on hand. Served it with polenta and green beans-crowd pleaser!!
Recipe will impress those who turn their noses up at meatloaf. Good for casual company or Sunday dinner. Served with mashed potatoes - any other type w meatloaf - and steamed green beans. Tastes like you went to alot of trouble.
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