These meatloaf muffins are a wonderful side or main dish. They are adorable on a platter and have a wonderful savory flavor. The herbes de Provence are fragrant and add a flavor that is not easily identifiable because it’s a blended spice. The bold flavor of the rosemary and thyme is balanced by the marjoram and oregano, with a floral and smooth taste from the lavender. I use ground chicken in this dish because it’s a healthy alternative to traditional meatloaf, but also because it’s perfect for the flavor of the herbes de Provence. Cooking the meatloaf inside little potato cups really makes these a showstopper!
2 to 3 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced paper-thin on a mandoline
5 tablespoons margarine, melted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup grated onion, excess juices reserved
⅓ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1. For the potato base: Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Dip each piece of potato in the margarine and shake off excess. Line the bottoms and all the way up the sides of 6 cups of a 12-cup muffin tin with 2 to 3 layers of potato slices (about 15 slices per muffin cup), so that the potatoes come up about ¼ inch over the top.
3. Fill 3 cups, then leave the 3 adjacent to them empty, so that you have a row of filled, then a row of unfilled cups, then repeat. Fill the empty cups with water.
4. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until the potatoes are golden, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
5. For the chicken meatloaf: Raise oven temperature to 375°F.
6. In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, onion and juices, and bread crumbs. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, brown sugar, herbes de Provence, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, egg and black pepper.
7. Add the chicken and fold with your hands until everything is combined.
Do not overmix. Mixture will be sticky.
8. With a cookie scoop or a spoon, place about 3 tablespoons chicken mixture into the potato cups. Press a sprig of thyme on top of each.
9. Refill each empty cup with water.
10. Bake until the meatloaf edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes, then remove each loaf with a spatula.
11. Serve with honey-mustard sauce, if desired.
Note: Mix store-bought honey-mustard sauce with ¼ to ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence to add the same flavor profile to your homemade-tasting dipping sauce.