How to Make Mushroom-Stuffed Meatloaf With Beer-Cheese Sauce

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A burger-inspired meatloaf incorporates all the requisite condiments with surprisingly delicious results. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

I'm not an overtly outdoorsy girl. I limit my camping experiences to one-evening adventures. Why? Mostly because I love everything about cooking over an open fire—the smell, the rustic feel—and almost nothing of the rest of it.

Usually, I switch up what I cook. But my go-to—foil-wrapped burger packets with mushrooms, pickles, and a rich, surprising-but-works sauce made from cheese, steak sauce, ketchup and mustard—is a requisite, and it's the one that inspired this kitschy dish.

I know what you're thinking: "It sounds like a mess." Think about it, though: these are the very ingredients that top your burger and make it taste great.

I've taken that same concept and made it indoor-friendly, transforming it into a mushroom-stuffed meatloaf with all those same flavors, served with a nice, gooey beer cheese sauce.

The meatloaf base takes inspiration from this awesome Cook's Illustrated recipe, which incorporates a bit of powdered gelatin along with Saltine crackers and chicken stock to help the loaf stay moist and tender as it cooks. For the flavorings, I start with sautéed onions and garlic then team them up with umami-rich steak sauce, shredded Asiago cheese, and ketchup. The secret weapon? Finely chopped pickles, which are incorporated into the meat.

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Once the basic meat mixture is made, I lay half of it on a foil-lined baking sheet then place a layer of mushrooms sautéed in red wine on top before sealing them up with more meat. The whole thing gets a simple steak sauce, mustard, and ketchup glaze and goes into the oven to bake while I whip up a gooey cheese sauce on the stovetop.

I know it sounds wacky. Believe me, it did to me too. But trust me. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith.