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The recipe for this meatloaf, sekaná in Czech, is adapted from the Czech cookbook (Česká domácí kuchařka díl 1.) mom and I bought while in Prague. To a Russian speaker, translating the ingredients from Czech is rather trivial, and the combination of cabbage, bread and milk in a meatloaf immediately struck me as original and interesting. The union of cabbage and meat reminds me of mom's Golubtsy, traditional Russian cabbage rolls, but by contrast the taste of cabbage in this meatloaf recipe is much less pronounced. Cabbage mostly makes the texture of the meat tender, but does not assert itself. Translating instructions from Czech is a much more involved matter... so I am not entirely sure what I have done differently. Be that as it may, the result is an unusually tender meatloaf that is flavorful, fulfilling and almost, if not quite, traditionally Czech.

Hard to get wrong, tasty, satisfying... ready to try it yourself?

What you need:
3/4 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground veal
5 slices smoked bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped cabbage, loosely packed
3/4 cups stale bread, possibly totally petrified :)
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cups + 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp of each black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg
2 bay leaves
3 twigs rosemary with leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil

How to do it:
0. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Soak stale bread in milk until it's soft and soppy. Mush and break it up into small pieces with your hands.
2. Fry onion and bacon in oil on medium-high heat. When the onion starts to brown, add garlic and saute for a couple more minutes, or until onion is nice and golden, but not burnt. Let this cool before using (otherwise, the egg will cook before its time).

3. While the onion is frying, boil the cabbage (already chopped) in salty water for 3 minutes. Strain through a sieve, rinse it with cold water and let drain well.
4. Oil (if your pan is oliophobic, you may want to use softened butter instead of oil) your pan. Throw in 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs and tilt the pan over the bowl where you will mix all the ingredients (to catch breadcrumbs that will fall fall out) until the interior of the pan is coated with breadcrumbs. Arrange rosemary twigs and bay leaves on the bottom of the pan.

5. Combine ground meat, eggs, fried onion mixture (when cooled), cabbage, salt, spices, soaked bread (do not put in any milk that has not been soaked up by the bread; otherwise the meat will be too liquid), bread crumbs. Mush this mixture with your hands until all ingredients have been incorporated and the "dough" is homogeneous.
6. Transfer the "dough" to the prepared pan, taking care that there are no holes inside the loaf. Smooth the top or draw a pattern over it; sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs and any remaining spices. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 55 minutes. Then, broil for 5 more minutes so that the top of the loaf is nice and brown.

The best side for this is boiled and then lightly fried fingerling potatoes. Add a dab of hot sauce for dipping, and you have in front of you a dinner that is simple and simply perfect! And, well, if it were up to mom and me on our vacation, we'd have this with a half a liter of Pilsner Urquell, a traditional Czech beer.
Tags:    cabbage Czech international main course meat pork veal
Summary: a main course recipe
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Jun 07, 2011
by  Nadia S.
M-m-m-m... It&#39;s interesting how same ingredients (i.e. ground meat and cabbage) can produce completely different food experiences: Golubtsy, Lazy Golubtsy, now Meatloaf (a great new idea for my &quot;what do we eat today&quot; moment). <br />I&#39;m not surprised my eyes are closed, but what a pity Karlov Most is senselessly cut from the picture... :( It&#39;d have been just a perfect shot.