Meatloaf w/ apples and stout

4 lbs of ground beef, 80/20
1 cup of fresh onion, chopped
6-8 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 t of Salt
1 t of Pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup of saltine crackers, crushed
1/8 cup of worcestershire sauce
2 eggs
3 small granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
12 oz of a hearty stout
Topping:
12 oz of a hearty stout
1 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 T of balsamic vinegar (get something more artisanal and more robust in flavor)
First up, we’ve gotta cook down those onions a bit.
Add some olive oil to a medium skillet at medium-low heat; once the oil is ready, toss in your onions.
Once they become slightly translucent, sprinkle some salt over them and add 1 T of unsalted butter.
Add your herbs in here, letting the oils cook into your onions.
Continue cooking as they soften and brown.
Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.
Add your beer in, six ounces at a time, and reduce the liquid until it thickens each time.
When the liquid finishes reducing again, remove from heat.
Discard the fresh herb sprigs and transfer to somewhere to cool quickly.
At the same time…
Add the apples to a skillet with olive oil at medium heat. Sprinkle with a touch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until soft.
OR- Do a fine dice (like, the apples are pea-sized) and add them raw. This will give more of a tart element with that texture change.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, add your ground beef, ketchup, salt, pepper, ketchup, crackers, Worcestershire sauce, and eggs.
Mix together, then add your sauteed onion/beer/garlic mixture and apples.
Mix together well, and transfer to an ungreased loaf pan.
Cover in foil and bake for 30 minutes. As it bakes, make your topping-
Add the 12 oz. beer to a skillet. Begin reducing it at medium heat.
Once the beer is half reduced, add the rest of your ingredients and blend well. Let it cook for a few minutes until it comes together, then remove from the heat. Keep it handy, you’ll need it!
After 30 minutes, remove the foil from the meatloaf and add half of the topping.
Return to oven, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes, adding half of the remaining topping halfway through.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with a spoonful of the topping over the top.

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