Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Truffaloaf with Cognac Glacé Viande

     Gourmet comfort food was a trendy cuisine during the recent Great Recession.  When economic times are tough, the dining public seeks comfort and value.  Gourmet style comfort food that is offered for a nice price definitely fits the bill of fare.  Many fine dining chefs capitalized on this idea during the recession, while uncompromising fine dining restaurants had the highest business failure rate of all time.  French fusion restaurants that offered tiny portions of gourmet food for an inflated high price suffered the worst.  Items like gourmet Meatloaf, Shrimp 'n; Grits and fancy Macaroni & Cheese sold like wildfire back in those days, because this was the style of food that the dining public really wanted to eat.
     In the western world, a Buffalo is an American Bison.  In modern times, American Buffalo are mean tough animals that are raised on free range ranches.  Buffalo meat is very lean and drug free.  The flavor is milder than deer meat and it is slightly stronger tasting than beef.  Sustainable free range Buffalo is much better for the environment than cattle and the meat is a healthy alternative choice.
     Mushrooms of any kind taste good with Buffalo.  For the most part, the woodsier the mushroom flavor, the better it tastes with Buffalo.  Black Truffle has a deep rich aromatic mushroom flavor that is highly prized by gourmands.  The problem is that Black Truffles are rarely available in American food markets and they do command a high price.  Fortunately, all it takes is one small piece of Black Truffle to flavor a modest size Buffalo Meatloaf.
     I purchased a couple of small Black Truffles that were packed in oil at a specialty food market.  When making such a purchase, it pays to do some research ahead of time, because not all Black Truffle products are made with the real thing.  Winter Truffles from Australia or Asia are basically fake and they have very little flavor.  Black Truffle products from France or Italy are practically guaranteed to be genuine.
     The proper way to slice Black truffles is to use a Truffle Slicer.  A good stainless steel Truffle Shaver from Italy costs about $10 to $20 and it is a lifetime investment.  I used the clean Black Truffle shavings for a couple of recipes that visually featured sliced Black Truffles.  The leftover Black Truffle scraps and end pieces were chopped and used to flavor today's Buffalo Meatloaf.  A little bit of Black Truffle goes a long way.
     Since inventing a catchy name for an entrée is part of modern restaurant marketing strategies, applying a nifty name to today's recipe simply had to be done.  Combining the words Truffle and Buffalo Meatloaf resulted in an interesting gimmick name.  The name "Truffaloaf" sounded good and it created interest, so the name stuck!
     The coating on the meatloaf is my signature way of finishing a meatloaf.  The coating is always tomato based and ketchup can be used.  Combining ketchup and Creole Mustard creates a meatloaf coating that caramelizes and adds a very appealing flavor.  The coating also helps keep the lean buffalo meat from drying out while roasting.
     An ordinary Brown Gravy would not do today's gourmet meatloaf justice.  Choosing a simple rich sauce is best, because a complex tasting sauce would compete with the Black Truffle infused Buffalo flavor.  Glacé Viande is a rich reduction sauce that is fairly easy to make.  Glacé Viande can be portioned and frozen for later use.  Cognac flavored Glacee Viande is a nice choice for accompanying Truffaloaf.  

     Glacé Viande:
     This recipe yields about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of glacé viande.  A little glacé viande goes a long way!
     Step 1:  Place 4 pounds of veal bones, lamb bones, beef bones, pork bones and lean meat scraps in a roasting pan.
     Add 5 ounces of tomato paste.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of rustic un-peeled mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion.
     Stir the mixture together.
     Step 2:  Roast the mixture in a 350ºF oven, till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  (Stir the ingredients occasionally.)
     Step 3:  Place the roasted bones and mirepoix in a stock pot.
     Deglaze the roast pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot.
     Step 4:  Cover the bones with 2 " of extra water. 
     Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat 
     Simmer for 4 hours.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     Occasionally skim off any fat and impurities from the surface.
     Step 6:  Remove most of the bones from the pot and discard them.  
     Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a second pot.
     Discard the bones and vegetables.
     Skim off all of the grease that floats to the top.
     Step 7:  Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Simmer the meat stock, till the volume reduces by a little more than half.
     The glacé viande should be able to glaze the back of a spoon with a thin coating.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat and cool the sauce to room temperature.
     Place the sauce in a container and chill till it is needed.  
     *Glacé Viande can also be frozen in portions for later use.  When the thin Glacé Viande is used in recipes, it will be reduced to a slightly thicker consistency.

     Black Truffle Buffalo Meatloaf (Truffaloaf):
     This recipe yields 1 large meatloaf that weighs about 20 ounces.  (Enough for 3 portions.)
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced carrot.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced peeled celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Gently sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped black truffle.
     Gently sauté till the vegetables are tender and the truffle becomes aromatic.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the vegetables and butter from the pan in a mixing bowl.
     Step 4:  Add 1 pound of ground Buffalo Meat.  (American Bison)
     Add 1/4 cup of plain fresh French bread crumbs.
     Add 1 large egg.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (About 1/4 teaspoon of each.)
     Step 5:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the meatloaf mixture till it becomes stiff.
     Step 6:  Lightly brush a deep roasting pan with vegetable oil.
     Mound the meatloaf mixture on the center of the roasting pan.
     Use your hands to shape the meatloaf mixture into a smooth tall bread loaf shape.
     Step 7:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast the meatloaf till the outside is firm and lightly browned.  (About 15 minutes)
     *Only the outside of the meatloaf should be cooked at this point.  The center will still be undercooked.  Try not to handle the partially cooked meatloaf, so it is not damaged.
     Step 8:  Remove the meatloaf pan from the oven.
     Set the pan aside.
     Step 9:  Place 3 tablespoons of Creole Mustard in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup of Organic Ketchup.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 10:  Use a spoon to spread the Creole Mustard and Ketchup Glaze evenly on the partially cooked meatloaf.
     Step 11:  Return the meatloaf pan to the 325ºF oven.
     Roast the meatloaf till it is fully cooked.  (The center temperature should be 165ºF.)
     Step 12:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
     Keep the meatloaf warm on a stove top.

     Cognac Glacé Viande:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (3 or 4 petite portions)
     The Cognac Glacé Viande can be prepared while the meatloaf finishes roasting.
     Step 1:  Place a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 teaspoons of minced shallot.
     Gently sauté till the shallots turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of cognac (or brandy).
     Add 1/2 cup of thin Glacé Viande.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can glaze the back of a spoon.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chilled Unsalted Plugra Butter while stirring with a whisk.
     Keep the Cognac Glacé Viande warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie
     Truffaloaf with Cognac Glacé Viande:  
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut 2 to 3 thick slices of the Truffaloaf.  (A 6 to 7 ounce portion is good.)
     Place the Truffaloaf slices side by side on the front half of a plate.
     Step 2:  Place a vegetable and potato of your choice on the plate.  (Baked Sweet Potato and Buttered Snap Peas are a nice choice!)
     Step 3:  Pour about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the Cognac Glacé Viande on the plate around the meatloaf.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig. 
     Needless to say, this is one of the finest tasting wild game meatloaf entrées that can be imagined!

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