Noah Gough loves meatloaf.
He grew up in a family that stretched its food budget, and meatloaf is the most elastic of main dishes. But the student chef at Johnson County Community College says he could eat the variation thats topped with ketchup only so many times before he was ready to change it up with an Asian twist.
Nobody says its as good as Moms, but I at least gave her a run for her money, he said.
The ingredient list for the recipe may seem long, but Gough says not to be intimidated by that. There are only one or two steps to prepare it, he said. It goes together quickly.
He offered these tips for the menu:
• You could substitute yellow or red curry paste for the meatloaf, but green is more pungent and flavorful and works best in this recipe.
• Jasmine rice is a fragrant, sticky rice from Thailand. Its sticky nature makes it perfect for molding.
Molding rice takes some practice. To shape the rice, pack it carefully into a mold, then slide it through the mold and onto the plate. You may want to spray the mold with vegetable oil spray to make the rice slide onto the plate more easily.
Gough used a short length of PVC pipe for his mold; you could use a biscuit or cookie cutter instead. Or try an ice cream scoop to make rounded rice domes.
• The Onion-Shiitake Stew ties the meal together and keeps the meatloaf moist, much like the ketchup topping on old-fashioned meatloaf. Use a large pan to make the Onion-Shiitake Stew. If the pan is too small, the vegetables will release their juice and youll end up with boiled mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Serve the meatloaf and rice with bok choy or other Asian greens to add color and balance to the meal.
East Asian Meatloaf With Coconut-Ginger Rice and Onion-Shiitake Stew
Makes 4 servings
1 pound ground beef, 85 percent lean
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2-inch slice fresh ginger
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (reconstituted in warm water, stems removed and sliced thin)
1/2 cup julienned onion
1/2 cup julienned bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons galangal powder (available at Asian stores)
2 tablespoons minced lemon grass
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili paste
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onion tops
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
For the Meatloaf: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in large mixing bowl until blended and slightly tacky in texture. Divide into eight 4-ounce portions; shape into small oval patties about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Place on sheet cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove from oven; keep warm until ready to serve.
For the Coconut-Ginger Rice: Place all rice ingredients into small 11/2-quart saucepan. Cover; place in oven with meatloaf for 35 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 7 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then let cool another 5 minutes.
For the Onion-Shiitake Stew: In large hot skillet or wok, sauté mushrooms, onions and bell pepper with garlic for 1 minute, adjusting heat so as not to over brown or burn. Add galangal, lemon grass, honey, Asian chili paste, vinegar, stock, salt, pepper, cilantro and green onions. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and cold water; add to sauce. Bring to boil; boil and stir 1 minute until thickened. Set aside until ready to serve.
To serve, place rice on the plate, shaped with a mold if desired. Top with two meatloaf patties then top with braised onions and mushrooms.
Per serving: 719 calories (47 percent from fat), 38 grams total fat (17 grams saturated), 168 milligrams cholesterol, 65 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 1,389 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe and food styling by Noah Gough, 22, a third-semester student in the Johnson County Community College hospitality management program. He is an apprentice at Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City.