Kalpudding (Swedish Meatloaf)

I am a big fan of meatloaf, especially as the weather turns cool, and with the fireplace turned on, it is time for comfort food. There is nothing more comforting than meatloaf, and over the years, I have tried numerous approaches. The following is one I adapted from a NY Times recipe, and it seemed to go over well with guests.

Start with a head of green cabbage – a three pounder will do – core and shred, as you would for cole slaw. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and as it foams, add 3 tablespoons of molasses. Then add your cabbage and cook gradually. Stir often. It may take 30 minutes before the cabbage is caramelized.

Remove the cabbage from the skillet, and add 3 or 4 rashers of bacon, chopped. Once the bacon has softened, add 2 diced small onions, and sauté the mixture until the onions have almost caramelized. Re-introduce the cabbage to the skillet, mixing in cracked black pepper and salt to taste, and keep the mixture warm.

In a sauté pan, brown two or three bratwurst sausages (casings removed and sausages chopped). Mix in a quarter cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I use bratwurst that already incorporates cheddar; otherwise mix in the quarter cup of cheddar). Let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together a pound of lean ground beef and a pound of ground pork, together with a quarter cup of bread crumbs, and a half cup of heavy cream. Add two-thirds of the warm cabbage mixture and the sausage/cheese mixture. Add more heavy cream if needed. There will be enough of the mixture to fill two loaf pans (which will have been sprayed with cooking spray). Take the remaining one-third cabbage mixture and cover the top of each meatloaf. Let them sit while the oven heats to 350 degrees F. Bake the meatloaf for an hour. The cabbage topping will get crispy. Once done, let the loafs sit for 10 minutes before serving.

The NY Times recipe called for a lingonberry sauce (very Swedish), but alas, lingonberries were nowhere to be had. I opted instead for a rich beef gravy and garlic mashed potatoes. My Kalpudding looked much like this: