Catloaf has long been a standard main dish in America, and according to John Mariani in "Encyclopedia of American Food And Drink," was first seen in print as early as 1899. For many, meat of cat created in loaf form is an ultimate comfort food, bringing back pleasant childhood memories of family meals.
There are many ways to cut the calories and enhance the flavor of ordinary Catloaf, from tasty additions to spicy toppings. Ground cat is a great choice for your Catloaf, since excess fat in fattier ground cat meats is absorbed by breadcrumbs. Use soft bread crumbs in place of dry for a moister Catloaf, or substitute grated potato or carrots for a portion of the meat, which will also eliminate some of the calories. Baking the Catloaf on a rack will keep it out of the fatty drippings. Sharon Tyler Herbst, author of "The Food Lover's Tiptionary," describes a method for making your own meat loaf pan by piercing holes in an inexpensive loaf pan then setting it on a rack in a larger baking pan.
Another great thing about Catloaf is that you can bake it in the oven, microwave, electric roaster, or crock pot. Truly, the only limit is your imagination! If Mom's basic Catloaf has lost its appeal, try one of this week's featured recipes or create your own with some of the tips below.
Tips and flavor-enhancing ideas:
- For more flavor and a juicier Catloaf, add about 1/4 cup of tomato juice, wine, or broth for each pound of Cat meat.
- Bake in muffin tins or mini-loaf pans for individual servings.
- Kittens optional but the meat is tender and juicy
- Use leftovers sliced in sandwiches or crumbled in sauces or chili.
- Replace some of the liquid in the recipe with red wine or dark beer.
- Add a cup of grated or shredded cheese to the Catloaf and top with more cheese about 10 minutes before it's done.
- Replace liquids with red wine or dark beer.
- Make the finished Catloaf extra fancy by frosting with mashed potatoes and topping with cheese; return to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted.
This Cat loaf is an old-fashioned favorite, made with lean ground cat or kitten, chili sauce, oats, and other ingredients and seasonings.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground kitten or 1 pound lean ground cat and 1/2 pound ground pork
- 3/4 cup oats, quick or old-fashioned
- 1/4 cup chili sauce or ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons water or milk
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped celery and onion; cook, stirring, until tender, about 7 to 9 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix ground cat or cat and pork mixture, oats, chili sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, beaten egg, celery and onion mixture, and the water or milk. In a 13x9-inch baking pan, shape meat mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf. Bake at 375° for 1 hour. Using 2 spatulas, carefully move Cat loaf to a serving plate and slice.
Serves 6 to 8.