The Film:

The Dish:

The Reason:

Not everything is going Woody Grant (Bruce Dern’s) way. He  just wants to get from Montana to Lincoln Nebraska, to claim the million dollars he’s convinced he’s won in a sweepstakes. If he could have the respect of his family and old friends, procure a new truck, a compressor and eat meatloaf for dinner (despite the fact that it’s only part of the lunch specials), things might be a little brighter. No wonder he’s taking respite in a cold ale (or three) along the way. This meatloaf is happy-making stuff. Thanks to the downy-plush of the milk soaked breadcrumbs it’s soft enough to eat- even if you’ve lost your teeth somewhere near the rail tracks. There’s a mix of beef and pork and some sneakily disguised vegetables tucked in there too. If like Woody you believe ‘beer ain’t drinking’, throw the contents of one of your excess cans into a pan with the onions to fashion a sticky gravy. All you then need is some sweetcorn puree on the side, it’s the perfect accompaniment when you’re passing through the corn-husking state.  This makes enough to feed a family of four- but if you’re not all on speaking terms, it also keeps well for sandwiches for the journey home the next day.

The Way:

Shopping/foraging

Makes 1 meatloaf, serves 4

Equipment

1 x 21 cm loaf tin

Meatloaf
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced, or blitzed in a food procesor
1 medium courgette, finely diced, or blitzed in a food processor
1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced, or blitzed in a food processor
3 tbsp milk
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
350 g beef mince
350 g pork mince
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp mustard (Dijon/American/ Wholegrain- you choose)

Beer Braised Onion Gravy
1 tbsp olive oil
3 brown onions, peeled and cut into slim half moons
pinch of salt
1 tbsp flour
330 ml of beer
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.

2) Either use a food processor to blitz together, or finely chop the carrot, courgette and onion. Place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a fry pan and sautee for 5-7 minutes until soft. Drain any excess juices and set aside to cool.

3) Add the milk to the breadcrumbs and leave to absorb.

4) Combine the cooled sauteed vegetables with the beaten egg and chopped flat leaf parsley and salt.

5) Add in the two types of mince, the milk soaked breadcrumbs, the ketchup and the mustard. Use your hands to squelch and gently combine.

6) Transfer the mix to a loaf tin and pat into the corners and smooth the top.

7) Place in the oven and bake at 180C/350 F for one hour, until the top is brown and the meatloaf is cooked through.

8) While the meatloaf is cooking, begin the onion gravy. Place the olive oil in a heavy bottom fry pan. Sautee the onions with the salt over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes, until they are lightly golden and soft and sweet.

9) Add the tbsp of flour to the fry pan and stir to combine.

10) Add the beer and bring the pan to a simmer. Add the Worcestershire sauce and allow to bubble and cook until you have a sticky gravy.

11) Serve the slices of meatloaf with creamed corn and the onion gravy, and perhaps some steamed green vegetables on the side.