This shepherd's pie-inspired riff on classic meatloaf seems fairly traditional at first glance, but cutting into it reveals a stuffing of peas and carrots, along with a buttery, cheesy potato crust. The meatloaf base takes inspiration from this awesome Cook's Illustrated recipe, which incorporates a bit of powdered gelatin and chicken stock to help the loaf stay moist and tender as it cooks.
To form the meatloaf, I start by sautéing a few aromatics—onions, celery, garlic,—then combining them with crushed Saltine crackers, a mix of beef, pork, and veal, and a few other seasonings. I then place half the mixture in a loaf pan, making a long well lengthwise that I fill up with the peas and carrots (even frozen peas and carrots work well in this recipe!)
I top it up with the remainder of the meatloaf mix, and press it down to fuse the meat and encase the vegetable filling. Finally, the loaf is slathered with whipped-until-airy Parmesan potatoes that are dotted with butter and baked in the oven until browned. Meanwhile, a quick Stilton cheese sauce simmers on the stove.