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  • Leigh

Better Than Wurst: Oktoberfest Meatloaf

In honor of Oktoberfest I intended to cook some German sausages--Bratwurst and Weisswurst--for my husband, who loves them. Unfortunately, while at the store, I made the mistake of looking at the back of the sausage package, which listed the fat and calorie count of the sausages. Although I thought I'd give my husband a "once in a blue moon" treat, I reconsidered. After all, he'd just been to the cardiologist. Treats are fine, but getting your whole day's worth (or more) of fat and salt in just one sausage (and many people eat more than one!) seems like it's not really a treat. So what to cook instead of the sausages? I settled on something else my husband really likes--meatloaf--but with a German twist. Although the meatloaf isn't photogenic, it's quite good, less expensive, and far less fat-filled than the sausages. With onion, a bit of dill pickle relish, grainy mustard, and bacon crumbles, the meatloaf is moist and really does have many of the "Oktoberfest" flavors you'd expect. Nonetheless, what really sets the meatloaf apart from the typical "Tuesday meatloaf" crowd is the filling. I usually use sauerkraut, which I roll inside the meatloaf. This time, I opted for a red cabbage and apple mixture that I found at my local Aldi market. Either the red cabbage mixture or sauerkraut will add additional moisture and more "German" flavor to the meatloaf, and both are good. To top the meatloaf, I mix up a simple, 30-second mustard sauce. The meatloaf really is something better than "wurst."

German Meat Loaf

German Meat Loaf -- Serves 6+

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup of dill pickle relish

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup of quick oats

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 - 1 1/4 pounds of ground beef (93 percent lean)

2 tablespoons of grainy Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of bacon crumbles

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of parsley flakes

1 15 ounce can (or jar) of sauerkraut, drained or 1 1/2 cups of jarred red cabbage and apples


1 cup of light sour cream

2-3 tablespoons of grainy Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients, mixing them well with a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated and the mixture binds together. Let the meatloaf mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then stir it again. Tear off a large sheet of waxed paper and place it on the counter. Dump the meatloaf mixture onto the waxed paper and then pat it out into a rectangle roughly 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. Spread the sauerkraut or red cabbage mixture evenly on top of the meatloaf mixture, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edges. Using the waxed paper, roll up the meatloaf, like a jelly roll, starting with a short side and tucking any stray sauerkraut or cabbage back inside as you roll. You can use the waxed paper to lift the rolled meatloaf and place it seam-side down in the prepared baking pan. Bake the meatloaf for about 50 minutes or until the top is browned and the meatloaf is cooked through. Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and spread the topping on the meatloaf. Return the meatloaf to the oven for 10 minutes and then let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving it. I usually roast small potatoes alongside the meatloaf, but mashed potatoes also make a great accompaniment.

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