Not-to-Be-Believed Spinach-Beef-Sausage Loaf

May 07, 2004

Anderson Clark makes his meatloaf as a welcome for new neighbors. He describes it as "truly a religious experience" adapted and enhanced "more than a bit" years ago from Food & Wine magazine. He's made it his own - with commentary.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1 large onion

  • At least 5 garlic cloves, minced ("Crushed is marvelously muscular.")

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • Bit of crushed hot red pepper ("Take it easy!")

  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausage

  • 3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fresh

  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less)

  • Tomato Olive Sauce (recipe below)

Heat olive oil in hot, heavy old-time skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme and hot pepper. Turn heat to low and cook covered, stirring now and again until onion is seriously tender (about 20 minutes) while singing favorite hymn. Uncover, add spinach and cook while stirring to break clumps for about three minutes. Cool to room temperature.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, squeeze beef and sausage with fingers (best to wash hands before and absolutely after). Stir in spinach stuff, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt.

Arm wrestle mix until, well - mixed.

In large shallow baking dish, form meat mix into roly-poly loaf, indenting top a bit with back of spoon.

Bake loaf about 1 1/2 hours until well browned, until thermometer in loaf's center reads 160 to 165 degrees.

Let the miracle stand for about 10 minutes before slicing. Scoop a couple of spoon-shovels of Tomato-Olive Sauce on top.

Tomato-Olive Sauce ("Loaf's Best Friend")

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3 to 5 garlic cloves, minced ("Nah, crushed!")

  • 1/2 teaspoon basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper ("Yipes, again!")

  • 1 (35-ounce) can diced tomatoes and juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

  • 12 brine-cured black olives, pitted, chopped ("Yea! Calamata!")

Heat olive oil in flameproof casserole or skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme and hot pepper. Cook over low heat, covered, stirring now and again until onion is happily soft - give or take either side of 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes with their juices and salt. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce sweats down to about 3 cups, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let sauce cool off a bit, then force through medium blade of a food mill, or puree coarsely in food processor, or just serve as is. Return sauce to pan, stir in parsley and olives.

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