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Home Cooking

Transforming even the worst meatloaf moist and tender (and low fat!)


Home Cooking 15

Transforming even the worst meatloaf moist and tender (and low fat!)

ipsedixit | Oct 11, 2010 04:23 PM

If you're stuck with a meatloaf recipe that turns out a bit dry and tough, or if you want to reduce the fat content in your meatloaf but still retain that juicy, mouth-watering effect of enough fat (e.g., your typical 80/20 ratio for meatloaf), then try this ... sea cucumbers.

For those of you unfamiliar with sea cucumbers, read up about them here (not only are they nutritious but they are eco-friendly for those who care about such things).

Ok, so now you know about sea cucumbers, and are probably a bit grossed out, because sea cucumbers are basically earthworms of the deep sea, right?

Fine, but bear with me here for a minute.

If you ever get your hands on re-hydrated sea cucumbers (they're usually sold dried and have to be reconstituted in water), you'll know that they have this gelatinous, jelly-like taste and texture. And, most importantly, they are essentially tasteless. Lovely, little tubers these things are!

Which is why, in my opinion, they almost perfectly replicate cooked fat. It's that soft, moist, gelatinous texture that they have in the mouth that makes them almost like a second cousin to fat.

So if you're still with me this is what you do.

Get some sea cucumbers, rough chop them up, puree them, and then add them to your meatloaf mix. I would use about 1/4 cup of pureed sea cucumbers for every 1 lb. of meat. But you can experiment a bit.

If you add the above ratio of pureed sea cucumbers, you can reduce the lean-fat ratio of your meat to something ridiculous like 95/5, or maybe even lower. I've only tried 90/10 and it's worked out so well I could swear I was using something closer to 75/25.

Anyhow, just something to consider for those who love meatloaf, but would (1) like to make their tried and true recipe more moist or (2) like to reduce the fat content without losing that all important mouth-feel of a normal-fatted meatloaf.

As that jingle used to say, "All the taste and none of the fat!" (Well, almost .... )


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