Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mustard With Your Meat

When I was a kid one of the cool things was when my Dad would come home from packaging shows with new products like shrink wrapped items and Velcro fasteners and lunch boxes that folded flat. He also brought home silly things like a records. One of the most memorable was a Christmas record from a company called Line Materials. One of the songs on that record, which became a family favorite in my silly family, was called "People Should Listen To Me" or something similar to that. It was a song sung by a baritone guy who said he knew what the right way of doing things was...for everything! One of the lines called for 'mustard with your meat, galoshes on your feet' to give us two examples of what was right.

A few days ago I decided to see if that mustard with meat part was correct. I know I like mustard on hamburgers, but I had never used it for meat loaf and I was making a meat loaf using ground beef, which is rare for me...usually I use ground turkey. HERE is one I made using turkey and pork.

The other change was that I added cooked mushrooms seasoned with dried thyme. I wanted to add mushrooms but was worried that the moisture they give off when cooked would mess up the firmness of the meat loaf, so I cooked them first. Since I love the combination of mushrooms and thyme, that's what I used.

For the recipe I started with my Mom's Oatmeal Meat Loaf from the Classic Comfort Food cookbook (see link at top right corner of this blog, in web view). By cooking the mushrooms first and adding the mustard to the tomato juice, it didn't change the recipe too much and the results were not only delicious, but, according to Sweetie, the best meat loaf I ever made. I guess that officious guy on the record was right about mustard anyway.

Oatmeal Meat Loaf With Mushrooms and Mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey, or a combination
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 onion, peeled & chopped
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup rolled oats, uncooked

Spray a large skillet lightly with cooking spray (I used olive oil spray) and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and the thyme and cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes, until mushrooms are browned and have given off most of their juice. The juices should evaporate as you brown the mushrooms. The idea is to have cooked mushrooms that will add little moisture to the meat loaf.

In a large bowl mix the ground meat or poultry, cooked mushrooms, salt and pepper.
Mix the mustard with the tomato juice and add to the mixture. Add the onions and egg and mix again. Add the oatmeal and mix thoroughly until everything is incorporated. Pack firmly into an ungreased loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.


  1. Next Sister Down12:08 PM

    I use mustard a lot as a seasoning--usually spicy brown mustard or sometimes Dijon or flavored mustard if someone has given me some as a gift. It's one of my most-used seasonings for meats and vegetables. It started with a generic way to cook meat: putting a hunk of pork or beef in an oven-proof casserole, add a few cloves of garlic, some red wine vinegar, a dollop of mustard, and maybe a few other spices; cover and bake for an hour or two, depending on the size of the hunk of meant. That was one of my go-to easy-cook main dishes for a long time. Now, a bit of mustard and a bit of vinegar go into so many things I cook, especially now that mustard comes in squeeze bottles. Spaghetti sauce, beef stew, stir-fried veggies, salad dressings, and much more. They go well with many other seasonings, such as soy sauce in the stir-fries. I never thought of putting mustard in meatloaf, though. That sounds delicious with the mushrooms!

    By the way, "People Should Listen to Me" is from the soundtrack of a 1956 TV show, a musical of Jack & The Beanstalk:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

    I found MP3s of the album a few years ago. Let me know if you want an MP3 of "People Should Listen to Me." It's a terrible earworm! ("It's wrong of people not to / And I'm the one who says they've got to!")

  2. I think I'll pass on the MP3, mostly because it IS such an earworm. Was I right that we heard it as part of that Line Materials record?

  3. Next Sister Down5:43 AM

    No, the Line Material record was the "Let's Trim the Christmas Tree" single (of which I also have an MP3, and which is also a terrible earworm!), which Dad did get at a packaging show. The "Jack & The Beanstalk" LP belonged to the next sister down from me, most likely a birthday present. Besides "People Should Listen to Me," it also had "The Ill-Assorted Guards" ("the most unusual guards, the noble, fearless, resolute, remarkable ...") and "Twelve Feet Tall" ("Is he six feet tall? No, no ...") and some love songs that were much less memorable. One of the reviewers at Amazon mentions the title track ("The Ballad of Jack and the Beanstalk") and says that it includes the lines "He'll grind your bones to make his bread / Pumpernickel bread for tea," which, the reviewer says, "led me to assume for years and years that pumpernickel bread had bone meal in it. This inaccuracy caused me to avoid the stuff, and so my rating deducts a star for doling out false food information to an impressionable minor. Unconscionable." I think that last bit was tongue in cheek.

    So there's your baking reference, to keep this all from getting too far off topic! I probably wouldn't make pumpernickel bread for tea, though--doesn't seem like a tea kind of bread. But then, I'm not a giant.

  4. This is why I should probably never write a memoir - my recollections are flawed. I do remember so many of the songs, with The Ill-Assorted Guards being my favorite. Perhaps I liked that one of the guards was eating a cinnamon bun as they marched. Perhaps a cinnamon bun would be the thing for tea, although pumpernickel could be part of the sandwich part of an afternoon fancy tea, with, perhaps egg salad on thin slices of pumpernickel made without bone meal. It would go with cream cheese and smoked salmon, too. The tea would have to be robust, though.

  5. Next Sister Down12:44 PM

    Inspired by your mustard and meat (and mushrooms), this is what I made for dinner last night: I had about a pound of stew beef, which I put in the crockpot with a carton of beef broth and a smallish can of sliced mushrooms (something I don't normally keep on hand, but I'd bought some from the dented can shelf at the grocery store recently). This was a busy-day, quick-throw-stuff-in-the-crockpot dish. I did take the time to mince a few cloves of fresh garlic but I was in too much of a hurry to bother with onions. I had an almost-used-up squeeze bottle of spicy brown mustard in the fridge--too much trouble to get all the last bits out of the bottle but too much left in it to throw away. So I put some red wine vinegar into the squeeze bottle (maybe a third to half a cup?) and shook it vigorously, then poured the contents of the bottle into the crockpot. That got pretty much all the mustard out of the squeeze bottle and mixed the vinegar and mustard nicely. The end result was tangy and delicious. It could have used more mushrooms, and I meant to put carrots in for the last few hours, but I forgot. Because of the proportions, it was more like beef soup than any kind of stew, so I served it in a soup bowl with some corn muffins and a sliced avocado on the side.

  6. Sounds like the best kind of cooking, delicious and not at all fussy. I'll have to try the use of vinegar in a meat stew. I usually use wine, but the vinegar would add that nice tang.