Restaurant operators walk a fine line when they write their fall menus. They have to tweak the seasonal ingredients that customers love just enough to make them fresh and exciting, yet still familiar and comforting.
The spotlight shines on fall favorites such as apples, hard squashes, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, chestnuts, wild mushrooms, dried fruit, cabbage, and all sorts of potatoes and other root vegetables. Customer tastes transition from the light salads and small plates of summertime to heartier, more comforting dishes with richer flavors.
For example, Grilled Honey Glazed Heirloom Luxury Pie Pumpkins with goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds signal the arrival of fall at Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, Ill. One Market in San Francisco celebrates the season with Braised Veal Breast, fresh corn polenta, chanterelles and baby turnips. The same goes for Braised Beef Shortrib Bourguignon with bacon, potato, mushroom, parsnip, pearl onion and red wine demi-glace at Odd Duck in Milwaukee.
Quick-service players honor the trend with fall-inspired beverages and baked goods, such as McDonald’s Pumpkin Spice Latte and Einstein Bros. Bagels’ Pumpkin Walnut Crunch Gourmet Bagel with Pumpkin Schmear.
|Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf|
In addition, fall is a great time to menu grown-up versions of childhood favorites such as meatloaf, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and pot pie. Meatloaf is a particularly popular example. In fact, meatloaf entrees increased on menus by 43% in a recent five-year span, according to a Technomic study1. It is a comfort food classic with a built-in familiarity factor that makes it appealing to customers. Thus, operators have leeway to modify it with more upscale ingredients, additional flavors and novel presentations. A leading example is the Clubhouse Meatloaf Sundae, layered with red skin mashed potatoes, garden vegetables, onion straws and mushroom bordelaise sauce, at The Clubhouse in Oak Brook, Ill.
Ketchup is the “secret” ingredient that adds zest and depth of flavor to many a signature meatloaf recipe. It makes good business sense to use Heinz, America’s Favorite Ketchup®, in your meatloaf creations. Although the Heinz Ketchup #10 Tin can is the most prevalent format, operators may want to consider Heinz’s additional options.
Those who use a lot of Heinz® Ketchup as a flavoring agent in the back of the house will benefit from the Heinz® #10 Pouch Pack, which delivers the lowest cost-per-ounce of Heinz® Ketchup as well as greater convenience, product yield, improved safety and sustainability. It holds 114 ounces, the same as a #10 can, in a clear flexible pouch that improves yield and helps reduce costs. It has 90 % less packaging by weight than a #10 can, and is easy and safe to open without a can opener. The #10 Pouch Pack takes up less storage space and has lower disposal costs than cans.
In addition, high-volume operators using three or more #10 cans of ketchup per week may prefer the Heinz 3-Gallon Vol-Pak®, which holds the equivalent of four #10 cans. It easily dispenses ketchup right from the box or from a special wall rack and valve, sold separately.
For your repertoire of fall comfort foods, the following recipe updates classic meatloaf with a specialty protein and premium cheese:
Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf
16 - 4 oz. Servings (approx.)
- 3 cups (1 3/4 lb.) Heinz® Tomato Ketchup divided
- 2 1/4 cups (8 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup (3 oz.) Heinz® Tomato Paste
- 3 Tbsp. dried basil
- 3 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cups (7 oz.) finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) minced fresh garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 3 ea. eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (7 oz.) fresh bread crumbs
- 4 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine Ketchup, cheese, Tomato Paste, basil and oregano. Divide mixture in half.
3. Combine one-half of Ketchup mixture with onion, garlic, salt, pepper and eggs. Stir in bread crumbs. Add ground turkey into the same bowl and mix until well combined.
4. Spray 2 loaf pans (approximately 11 x 6 x 3 inches) with nonstick spray and place mixture evenly into pans. Spread remaining ketchup mixture evenly over the top of loaves.
5. Bake for 50-60 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.
6. Allow meatloaf to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
For more information about Heinz Ketchup, other condiments and dispensing formats, visit www.HeinzFoodservice.com or call 1-855-57-HEINZ.
1Technomic Menu Monitor Jan-Jun 2010