Mushroom Meatloaves and Gravy in Mashed Potato Bowls

Sunday supper or casual company fare, this presentation makes comfort food special.

For the Potato Bowls:
2 1/2 lbs potatoes
1 3/4 tsp salt, divided
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs butter, melted
For the Meatloaves:
2/3 cup crimini mushrooms, diced, from the 4 oz whole mushrooms divided
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
For the Mushroom Gravy:
3 Tbsp meatloaf drippings
6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups beef broth
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet, optional
salt and pepper to taste

1. For the Potato Bowls:
2. For the best results, make these early in the day or before.
3. In a Dutch oven starting with cold water to cover, boil the unpeeled potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool to touch.
4. Peel the potatoes, and mash them in a large bowl using a potato masher. Stir in the remaining salt, cream cheese, and next three ingredients until blended.
5. Spoon the potato mixture into 6 large mounds on a baking sheet. Shape each mound into a 4-inch bowl using the back of a large serving spoon, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. At this point you can freezer wrap and store for a later date.
6. While you are mixing the meatloaf, bake the potato bowls. Remove the bowls from the freezer, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with butter. Bake the frozen bowls at 450* for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned. Cover to keep warm.
7. For the Meatloaves:
8. Reduce the oven to 350°.
9. Separate the stems from the mushroom caps that will be used in the gravy. Dice the stems, then dice as much needed from the caps to make 2/3 cups.
10. In a large bowl, combine the diced mushrooms, onion, egg, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in the oatmeal, then crumble in the ground meats and combine. Divide the mixture between six jumbo muffin cups.
11. Bake the meatloaves for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Return the mashed potato bowls to the hot oven and turn the oven off.
12. Remove the meatloaves to a plate, reserving any drippings, and cover to keep warm while you make the gravy.
13. For the Mushroom Gravy:
14. Measure out 3 Tbsp. of the reserved meat drippings. ( You may need to supplement the drippings with olive or vegetable oil to make 3 Tbsp.)
15. In a large saucepan, heat the drippings along with any browned bits from the muffin cups. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and lightly browned. Move the mushrooms to the edges of the pan and add the tomato paste to the center. Allow the tomato paste to toast for a minute, then stir it into the mushrooms. Sprinkle on the flour, stir it in, and allow to cook for a minute before gradually stirring in the broth. Cook and stir until the gravy thickens. Season with the Kitchen Bouquet, salt, and pepper to taste.
16. Serve each meatloaf in a mashed potato bowl, covered with mushroom gravy.

Servings: 6