Ask the kids to join you in decorating this extra special meat and potatoes Yule Log. Fresh bay leaves and cranberries are just some of the "ornaments" you can use. Start a new holiday tradition!
- 4 1-inch thick slices stale good-quality white bread, torn
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry sherry or dry white wine (omit if you prefer not to use alcohol)
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the mashed potatoes:
- 3 pounds medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2-3/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter, sliced
- 2 egg yolks
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, soak the bread pieces in the milk.
- Heat the EVOO, a turn of the pan, in a medium size skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, carrot and garlic; season with salt and pepper and sauté to soften, 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the sherry and stir. Let reduce by half. Turn off the heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, place the ground beef in a bowl and add the cheese. Wring out the bread and add it to the meat, crumbling it into small crumbs over the bowl. Add the cooled veggies and season with salt, pepper, mustard, cayenne and the Worcestershire sauce. Add the eggs, then mix with your hands to combine.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, form the meat into a log-shape loaf, about 10 inches long. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
- Make the mashed potatoes while the meatloaf cooks: Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil. Salt the water and cook to tender. Drain and mash the potatoes with the half-and-half or cream, salt, butter and egg yolks and season with pepper. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pipe the mashed potatoes in a decorative fashion to cover the loaf completely. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika and transfer it back to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown.
Cooking with alcohol enhances the flavors of certain dishes. Some of the alcohol burns off in the process of cooking. If you are concerned about using alcohol when you cook, you may use the appropriate substitute listed in the ingredients.