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Meatloaf with Herbes de Provence

May 30, 2010

Herbes de Provence

Recipe: Meatloaf with Herbes de Provence
Total Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

If I had to rank the seasons, spring would be my least favorite. I know for some it’s full of new life and renewal and is a season to be looked forward to, the reassuring end of dark, cold winter. For me, it’s a monotonous time of year that holds the two months I dread most (March and April) and no exciting holidays. Spring is shifty and cannot be trusted. Nothing is more depressing than a cold spring wind or clouds that spend the day aggressively chasing the sun. Spring does not have the footloose and fancy free spirit of summer, the intelligence of fall or the coziness of winter. And so it is this weekend, Memorial Day, that I always happily bid spring farewell.

I was in a grumpy, spring-hating sort of mood a few weeks ago when I made Meatloaf with Herbes de Provence. If spring wasn’t going to behave properly than I was just going to go ahead and keep cooking the comfort food of winter. Phooey on asparagus and ramps and spring lamb with herbs. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes was what I was serving, and the two men I was cooking for (husband and brother) didn’t seem the least bit disappointed. In fact, they were thrilled. As we shoveled in the meal (there is no way to describe eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes other than shoveling) both commented that they could eat meatloaf like this every day of the week.  Less of a carnivore, I only crave meatloaf a few times a year so when I eat it, I want it to be good. This meatloaf recipe is incredibly moist and juicy, with a surprisingly delicate flavor from the aromatic Herbes de Provence used for seasoning.

Meatloaf: non-photogenic but delcious

Aromatic herbs, I suppose, were my way of trying to infuse just a little spring into this winter dish. Herbes de Provence – dried savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon and lavender – has to be the most soothing herb blend in the spice aisle. Whatever the season,  I don’t think I will make meatloaf any other way again. There are some recipes you tinker with forever, and some that you stick with once you get them right. This is the meatloaf recipe I will use from here on out – one day when I have grown children it will be known as “mom’s meatloaf” and much, much further in the future as “grandma’s meatloaf.”  It’s a good thing The Husband liked it so much, because Honey, this is the meatloaf you’ll be eating for the next fifty years.

And now, on to summer.  Next week I promise a properly seasonal recipe, but tuck this one away for the next time a cold wind blows, or you’re in need of an especially hearty meal, or if the thought of packing a cold meatloaf sandwich for lunch is just too delicious to ignore.

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