Guinness Meatloaf with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

I love this time of year because comfort food finds its way in our weekly menus. Besides, nothing beats cool autumn breezes, earlier sunsets and a warm kitchen filled with delicious smells. One of our favorite comfort foods is meatloaf. I love trying out new recipes using different ingredients to create a twist on old favorites. In this case, Guinness Beer flavors a hearty meatloaf studded with carrots, onions and celery, topped with french fried onions and served with a creamy mushroom gravy for an amazing Guinness Meatloaf...

Guinness Beer is something I tend to cook and bake with more than drinking. The flavors are rich, hearty and has notes of coffee and chocolate. It goes well with beef, so incorporating it into a meatloaf was easy! You could even make the meatloaves in advance in disposable loaf pans - the recipe below makes 2 loaves - making it great to cook one now and save another for later. To finish the meatloaf, I wanted to gravy to compliment the flavors. A straightforward mushroom gravy using beef stock and finished with a touch of cream was perfect. We enjoyed this over a fluffy mound of mashed potatoes and a side of roasted brussel sprouts...

Guinness Meatloaf
recipe adapted from WBAL TV 11

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced small
1/2 cup celery, diced small
2 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup stout beer (Guinness)
2 1/2 cups white bread, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup milk
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork (or veal)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Baby Bella mushrooms
1/4 cup parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup french fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and sauté onions, carrots, celery and garlic until softened. Add beer to skillet and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add milk and bread to soak for 10 minutes. Add vegetable mixture, ground meats, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, parsley and Worcestershire sauce, combining everything by hand.

Divide mixture in half and form each half into loaves onto a baking sheet. Press on french fried onions and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes.

Mushrooms Gravy
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1/4 teaspoon salt
(8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms 
1/4 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter 
1/4 cup whipping cream

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, salt, and mushrooms; sauté until mushrooms are browned. Add wine and cook until liquid almost evaporates. 

Stir in beef stock and bring to a boil and continue to cook until reduced, about 12-14 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and water in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Add mixture to pan; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add cream and stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until butter melts. Serve with meatloaf above.

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