Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Peas and Carrots in Parsley Sauce (A Meatloaf Dinner)

The star today is not the meatloaf or the mashed potatoes, but the peas and carrots in parsley sauce.

     When I was a little girl, my dad did most of the cooking. Mom was more than capable, but as a school principal, Dad's schedule brought him home earlier and he loved to cook anyway. One of his favorite meals has always been meatloaf. As a Danish boy, his mother (who had also been a cook for a family at one point) often made bof (I can't put the symbol on this- imagine a "/" through the "o"). Pronounce the "o" like the "oo" in book. I can still remember the savory smell of bof in Granny's kitchen whenever she made this for us. Bof is basically a fat rather than flat hamburger patty covered with dark gravy and onions (Granny eventually began using crunchy onions).  She always served it with boiled potatoes and what was called "peas and carrots in cream sauce".
   Granny also made a fabulous meatloaf.  She was the one who actually taught my mom to make it by forming the meat loaf into a jello mold and baking it into a ring.  She would then serve the circular meat loaf with the peas and carrots in the center. I think my dad's love for ketchup made him gravitate more toward meat loaf when he cooked for us, but he continued to serve it with potatoes and the peas and carrots for as long as I can remember. We also make mashed potatoes instead of just boiled ones. We add lots of butter, salt, milk and dill weed (a Polish thing for when we don't make gravy.) When he comes to visit, he usually requests that I make this meal for him. If I dared to serve meatloaf with anything else, I fear there might be a mutiny.
   When I researched the authentic Danish method of making the peas and carrots, I made two observations: 1)fresh peas and carrots are used and the vegetable stock created by the water is used as the liquid for the sauce and 2)a little sugar is added in addition to the salt. I'll have to try the sugar thing. Mom says that Granny didn't do this, but I might try it.
   Our version uses canned peas and carrots and the liquid used for the sauce is the water from the cans. It is so simple and so tasty. I have always served meatloaf with these two sides and it is the only time I actually purchase canned peas and carrots. (When Hayden saw the cans on the counter the other day, she said, "Yay, we're having meat loaf!" )The other "must" my granny insisted upon was fresh (not dried) parsley. I have to confess, I have used the dried before and it still tasted fine, but there is more of a parsley flavor when it is fresh. For some reason, this meal seems to get everyone excited. I figure that most folks have their own recipe for meat loaf, but I put ours at the end of this post in case you're curious.

Peas and Carrots in Parsley Sauce
This is probably a lot for most families - you may want to cut this recipe in half
4 cans peas and carrots
fresh parsley (you'll need a handful)
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
sugar (?) try it with a little first and see if you like it! (Since this post, I have tried the sugar and I LOVED it. I will now do this from now on!)

My favorite brand is Le Sueur, but this was all our grocery store carried. I can taste a difference, but my family can't.

The parsley is rinsed and ready for chopping. After chopping your parsley, open the cans of peas and carrots, but leave the lids on to help you drain the liquid into the pot when needed.

Melt the butter.

Add the flour.

Carefully drain the liquid into the pot while keeping the peas and carrots in the can. Throw in your handful of chopped parsley, some salt, pepper, (and sugar if you want to try it), and bring to a boil.
Mom said that sometimes Granny would add a splash of milk.

The color will lighten when it thickens.

Turn down the heat to med. and dump your cans of peas and carrots into the sauce and heat it 
2 Meat Loaves
4 lbs. ground beef (I frequently add other meat to this like ground turkey)
A large or two small diced onions
A large or two small diced green peppers
4 eggs
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
a palmful (size of a half dollar) dried parsley

*Make sure there is plenty of ketchup in the house or the meal will be pointless.

Mix with clean hands and separate into two loaves. You can see my second one behind this one if you look carefully. I don't use loaf pans because I think the sides get too slimy.  I prefer crispy edges. Bake both together, uncovered at 350 degrees for an hour. Crank the oven up and broil for five minutes when timer goes off to get a nice crust around the edges before serving.

A finished loaf.

Sammy enjoys his dinner.

Harrison enjoys his meatloaf sandwich the next day.
We have the mayonnaise camp and the ketchup camp when it comes to meatloaf sandwiches.
Harrison puts both on his.

Thus says the Lord: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

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