Greek Style Meatloaf with Cinnamon Tomato Sauce and Feta Mashed Potatoes
Feeds 8 – 10 People
3 Pounds Ground Beef (I Like 85/15 or 80/20)
6 Sliced Thick White Sandwich Bread, like Italian Style White
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Large Yellow Onion, Grated
2 Garlic Cloves, Grated
2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
¼ Cup Dried Mint or 1 Cup Fresh Mint, chopped
½ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 Recipe of Crockpot Cinnamon Tomato Sauce, cooled
½ Cup Kalamata Olives, Sliced
Feta Crumbles for Garnish
Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Put the ground beef in a large bowl and set aside.
In a smaller dish rip up the white bread into large pieces and cover with the milk. Let it sit for about five minutes, and then squeeze out as much of the liquid from the bread as you can, add the bread to the ground beef.
Next add the eggs, the grated onion along with the juices it’s released while grating, the garlic, oregano, mint, parsley, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper. Using your hands mix all the ingredients together well. This is the point where you want to make sure that you incorporate everything into the ground meat evenly, but take care that once you no longer notice real obvious spots of bread showing through it is time to top mixing. If you over mix the meatloaf will become tough and dense, which we want to avoid.
Next, spoon about 1 cup of prepared Cinnamon Tomato Sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, spreading it all over the dish in a thick layer. Next, on a cutting board, shape the meatloaf into a large thick oval – it will look a bit like a football – and place it into the baking dish. Once in the baking dish, pat it out to smooth out any crackers and to even out it’s shape. Now pour another cup or two of the Cinnamon Tomato Sauce over the meatloaf and using your hands coat the entire loaf. To finish the meatloaf sprinkle the top of the meatloaf and around the sides with the sliced Kalamata olives. Wrap the entire dish in tin foil and place in the center of your oven. Bake for 45 minutes and then remove the tin foil, return to the oven for another 45 minutes to an hour, until a meat thermometer reads 160⁰F when pierced into the thickest part of the meatloaf. When it is ready, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let set for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
To plate the meatloaf serve a nice thick slice with a side of Feta Cheese Mashed Potatoes (see recipe below), drizzle with some of the sauce from the baking dish, add some green beans to the plate and top it all off with feta crumbles and more olives!
The Cinnamon Tomato Sauce Recipe makes more than you will need for one meatloaf, but I recommend heating that leftover sauce up and using that to top of the meatloaf when plating. It’s not necessary, but a nice touch!
Crockpot Greek Cinnamon Tomato Sauce
2 – 28oz. Cans Whole Plum Tomatoes in Purée
1 – 6oz. Can Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, gently smashed and skin removed
2 Cinnamon Sticks
¼ – ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Minute Tapioca
2 tsp. Salt + more to taste+
1 tsp. Black Pepper + more to taste
2 tsp Granulated Sugar + more to taste
1/3 Cup Good Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, skin removed and cut in half
6 Whole Cloves
Pour the canned tomatoes and their liquids from the can into the crockpot insert. Using your hands crush the tomatoes so that they become non-uniform pieces of tomato. Next stir in the tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, tapioca, salt, pepper, granulated sugar and olive oil. Finally, you will add the onion, but before putting it into the sauce stud the outside of each onion half with 3 whole cloves and then add the onion halves into the sauce.
Once all of the ingredients have been added to the crockpot give them all a nice stir, place the cover over the insert and allow the sauce to cook for 6 to 7 Hours on low, or 4 hours on high.
When the time is up, remove the cover and remove the onion, garlic and cinnamon sticks from the sauce. You may discard these or save the onion to spread on some bread as a snack! Stir the sauce well and then taste for seasoning. Now you may add more salt, pepper and sugar if it needs it. If you find that you would like the sauce a bit thicker, leave it uncovered for about 30 minutes with the crockpot still on and you will see it start to reduce a bit, just like cooking on the stove, do stir it ocassionally.
If you are using this for making Greek Style Meatloaf I recommend pouring the sauce into a large non-reactive bowl and refrigerating it so that the sauce is cold when you make the meatloaf, this will make it easier to spread all over your meatloaf before baking. If you are using it to put over pasta you can serve it right away!
I also recommend just making a big batch on a random day and then freezing it. There is very little effort involved in making this sauce, once you have cooled it pour it in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer. It is now ready whenever you feel like making Greek Meatloaf, or even for simmering meatballs in!! Yum!
Feta Cheese Smashed Potatoes
2.5 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, Scrubbed and cut into even cubes
8 Whole Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 ½ Cup Warm Half and Half
24 oz. (3 cups) Feta Cheese, coarsely chopped into small cubes
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, cut into 8
1 tsp. Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
Put the cubed potatoes and garlic cloves into a large pot, add a lot of cold water. Season generously with salt, as this salt water will infused into your potatoes, seasoning them while they boil. Turn the heat down and allow the potatoes to simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes until they are fork tender, this means that when pierced with a fork the tine goes easily into the potato and pulls right out. Drain the potatoes well, return them to the pot, place a kitchen towel over the pot and place the pot lid over the towel. Leave the pot like this for about five minutes, allowing any extra moisture that remains in the potatoes to be soaked up by the towel.
While the potatoes are in the “dry cycle” pour 1 ½ cups of half and half into a small pot on the stove and gently heat it. When you begin to see a bit of steam floating up from the pot, the half and half is ready to come of off the heat. Once off the heat, stir half of the feta cheese crumbles into the half and half, so that it soften up and gets slightly melty.
Next, remove the lid and the cover from the potatoes and in about three or four batches add a few pats of cold butter, and some of the feta infused half and half to the pot holding the potatoes. Using an old school potato masher begin pounding the potatoes with the butter and half and half, as the ingredients begin to nicely incorporate add more of the half and half and the butter, do this until the potatoes are as smooth as you like them – or as smooth as your arm can get them! After all of the butter and half and half have been added, using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining feta crumbles and the black pepper, now taste for seasoning. Depending on how salty your feta cheese is, you may not need to add any more salt, but be sure to taste to be certain.
The mashed potatoes are now ready to be served alongside your Greek Style Meatloaf, or simply as a side dish for any other delicious home cooked dish that you are whipping up! Enjoy!