1 handful of Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits, crushed (1/2 cup crumbs)
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/8 of a sweet onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
several sun-dried tomatoes, diced (1/2 cup)
1 pound ground elk
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.
Put a handful of Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, until you have 1/2 cup of small crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup half-and-half and one egg. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes so the crumbs will soften.
Meanwhile peel the onion, cut it into sections, and dice until you have about 1/4 cup of onion bits. Put the bits in a small bowl and set aside. Dice the sun-dried tomatoes. Add them to the bowl with the onion bits.
To the large mixing bowl, add 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper. Put the ground elk into the large mixing bowl, tearing it into small pieces with your hands. Add the diced onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Mash and knead the mixture until thoroughly blended; it should be fairly smooth and stick together well. (If it’s too dry, add a little more half-and-half; if it’s too wet, add more Triscuit crumbs.) Pat the mixture into an oblong shape and lift it into the loaf pan.
Pour 1/2 cup ketchup into a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Mix with pastry brush. Use half the sauce to cover the top of the meatloaf, spreading it evenly with the pastry brush.
Cook the meatloaf for 55 minutes. Remove it from the oven and brush the remaining sauce over the top. Return the meatloaf to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Serves 5 people.
If you can’t find Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits, try substituting plain Triscuits plus 1 teaspoon rosemary and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
I had 1/4 of a sweet onion left over from a previous recipe, and didn’t need to use all of it. You can add more onion if you wish. This time the onion bits didn’t cook completely, although the meat did; they were still a little crispy. Next time I’ll try sautéing them first. Some meatloaves seem to soften onions more than others, even if the onion bits are of similar size.
I used kitchen scissors to cut the sun-dried tomatoes into strips, then held them together and cut crosswise to dice. This is the first time I’ve tried cooking with sun-dried tomatoes, and I’m thrilled with the flavor and texture. I like them much better than fresh tomatoes.
The flavors in this recipe are designed to complement the robust flavor of elk meat. Other game meat such as moose or venison would probably work. It’s not optimized for beef, though you could try that if you don’t have access to game.
Use a good tomato ketchup for the base of the sauce. Avoid ones that already have a lot of spices, or that list high fructose corn syrup as the first or second ingredient; you don’t want it too complex or too sweet. I used organic ketchup, which is nice and tangy, and made a perfect carrier for the oregano and rosemary. The sauce dries to a bright sticky coating with intense flavor.
The five of us devoured the whole meatloaf, with just enough room left for dessert. My partner Doug suggested adding a little Worcestershire sauce next time, but I’m sufficiently delighted with this version to post it now.