Beef Loaf and Horseradish Sauce

I have to confess I haven’t actually cooked this. When I went to the States to stay with my dear friend, one of the things I wanted to try was meat loaf which I had so often heard about in all the American literature I had read, and Wendy made me one, using a traditional recipe from an elderly friend. Her meat loaf was minced meat with plenty of salt and pepper, and I seem to remember some tomatoes and maybe some Tabasco sauce.

The National Mark was a government initiative in the 1930’s to standardise the foods which people were buying, to promote national farmers and producers and try to ensure a healthy population – very much the same messages governments give out today. It’s little cookery book goes through the months with recipes for whatever is in season, as well as what is in the store cupboard – no fridges or freezers then!

The recipe doesn’t specify whether the beef should be cooked or raw – I guess raw, but this seems an ideal dish to be made with leftovers. it is interesting that it is suggested that the loaf should be pressed, glazed and served cold – like a terrine really, I guess. I was also surprised to see the addition of pistachios; I didn’t realise they were available and used before the war. Our family always had a taste for the unusual and exotic, and I had never even heard of these delicious nuts until the late 1960’s. The addition of a single chopped up pickled walnut must have added a little hit of sharp flavour, but i think with that quantity of ingredients I would add more mustard and spices than specified.

National Mark’s Beef Loaf and Horseradish Sauce

  • 1½ lb lean National Mark beef
  • 4 oz raw ham or bacon
  • 1 National Mark Special egg
  • 4 oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon finely-chopped National Mark parsley
  • 1 small National Mark onion
  •  1 pickled walnut
  • ¼ teaspoon made mustard
  • a little grated allspice and nutmeg
  • a little meat glaze (recipe given earlier in the book)
  1. mince the beef and bacon,chop the onion finely,put them into a basin with the breadcrumbs,parsley, mustard, allspice and nutmeg, salt and pepper and walnut (cut into small pieces) Add beaten egg to form a fairly stiff mixture. If necessary more egg can be added, or stock
  2. grease an oblong bread or cake tin, put in the mixture, cover with greased paper and cook in a moderate oven for two hours. Remove from the oven, press with a heavy weight for several hours or until the loaf is quite cold. remove from the tin and brush the loaf with meat glaze
  3. interest can be added by introducing a few pistachio nuts, as they add a touch of colour; but they are not necessary. if preferred, the meat loaf can be served hot with a good gravy; and whether eaten hot or cold, horseradish sauce makes a delicious accompaniment.

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