Photo by Sarah Crowder

Q: My husband just loves meatloaf with mashed potatoes. He is always talking about how his mother would make it when he was a kid. I want to make it for him, but I am tired of being compared to his mother. Can you help me out?

A: I, too, love meatloaf with mashed potatoes. And it does bring back many memories of being a kid and watching my grandmother cook in the kitchen. Later, as I got older and began to follow my dream of cooking, she gave up the secrets to some of her favorite recipes. So, here is a great recipe that is a little playful with the old-fashioned version: I've added sundried tomatoes and feta cheese to my grandmother’s original recipe. I hope you enjoy it.


The MeatLoaf


3 lb. ground sirloin

2 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground veal

5 egg yolks

¼ c Dijon mustard

1 T salt

1 T ground oregano

½ medium onion, minced

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 c feta cheese

1 T ground sumac

¼ c sundried tomatoes, minced

¼ c whipped butter


Sauté onion and garlic, and let cool to room temperature. Blend together with remaining ingredients. Form pieces into muffin pan, making sure each one is about one-half inch above the rim of the tin. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until done.


Duchess Potatoes


3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and boiled

3 egg yolks

1/8 c butter

¾ c heavy cream

1 t salt

½ t black pepper

1/8 t nutmeg


After boiling potatoes, place them on a cookie sheet and dry by placing in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes to dry out the excess moisture. Push the potatoes through a China cap (or use a ricer or food mill). Allow to cool to room temperature. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Place into pastry bag and pipe on top of one-third of the meatloaf rounds. Bake at 375 degrees until the potato begins to brown.

Tobacco Onions


1 white onion, sliced into very thin rings

1 c flour

1/8 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

½ c vegetable oil


Blend all dry ingredients together. Dredge onions through seasoned flour and pan-fry in hot vegetable oil. When brown, remove from oil and let dry on paper towels.

Mushroom Gravy


1 lb. button mushrooms

½ medium onion, minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 c beef stock

1/8 c fresh thyme

2 T roux

2 T butter


Sauté mushrooms in butter until they begin to brown and crisp. Add onion and garlic and continue to brown. Deglaze with stock and bring to a boil. Add roux and let reduce until desired thickness. Add fresh thyme.


Plating: Place one meatloaf round topped with duchess potatoes on plate. Add two more plain meatloaf rounds and garnish the tops with the tobacco onions and steamed broccoli. Drizzle mushroom gravy to finish.

Final Thoughts: Meatloaf has been around since the pre-Roman times and usually has some kind of bread crumbs in it. I prefer to leave out the bread crumbs and add in whipped butter, which helps keep it moist.

I think all of us should share recipes and enjoy the diversity that they bring. Cooking has always brought friends and families together. And I look forward to many more recipes to share with you. You may reach me by email at

Chef John Johnson is executive chef at River City Casino. 

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