Recipe: Make Joy Cafe’s Meatloaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Onion Straws

Recipe: Make Joy Cafe’s Meatloaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Onion Straws

By C.W. Cameron / For the AJC

Troy Warren for CNT

Joy Cafe has a great meatloaf that comes with garlic mashed potatoes. I would love to have the recipe. We had curbside delivery on a rainy cold night. I am looking forward to a meal on their charming outdoor dining patio. — Evelyn Brown, Atlanta

Joy Cafe’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes are a classic pairing dressed up a little. The meatloaf starts with house-made breadcrumbs and is made from a combination of brisket, top sirloin and short rib that they grind in-house. The mashed potatoes incorporate garlic and herbs, and the crispy fried onions on top are a fun, delicious garnish. Serve this as they do in the restaurant by dividing the mashed potatoes between plates, then topping with a slice of meatloaf, a garnish of arugula and a pile of those fried onions.


Joy Cafe’s Meatloaf

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adobo (optional)

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 egg

For serving, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Onion Straws (see recipes)

Arugula sprigs, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-1/2-by-4 1/2-by- 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk. Set aside.

Make tomato glaze: in a medium bowl, stir together ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and chipotle (if using). Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, onion, bell pepper, egg, breadcrumb mixture and half the tomato glaze. Stir together lightly. Do not overmix. Move beef mixture to prepared loaf pan and pour remaining half of the glaze over the loaf. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and meatloaf has browned. Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Onion Straws and a garnish of arugula. Serves: 6

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 345 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), 24 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 18 grams total fat (7 grams saturated), 109 milligrams cholesterol, 499 milligrams sodium.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 head garlic

1 cup heavy cream

6 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sprigs fresh tarragon

1 sprig fresh sage

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes

Salt and white pepper

1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, plus more if needed, cut into small cubes

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut top off the head of garlic, wrap in foil and roast until fragrant, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap, and squeeze garlic pulp out of head and set aside. Discard garlic peel or use it to flavor the cream and herb mixture below.

In a small saucepan, warm cream with thyme, tarragon, sage and peppercorns. If desired, add roasted garlic peel. Simmer over low heat. Do not allow to boil. Keep warm until potatoes are ready.

In a large saucepan, arrange potatoes and cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Taste the water for seasoning. It should taste like lightly salty seawater. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to the hot empty saucepan to steam off any remaining water.

In a large mixing bowl, combine reserved garlic pulp and 1/2 pound butter cubes. Working as quickly as possible, use a potato ricer or potato masher to break up the hot potatoes over the garlic and butter. Lightly fold potatoes, garlic and butter together, then strain the cream and add to the potatoes. Discard the herbs and garlic peel, if used. Fold together again. Add more butter or cream until you reach your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Makes 6 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per cup: 557 calories (percent of calories from fat, 71), 6 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 45 grams total fat (28 grams saturated), 126 milligrams cholesterol, 47 milligrams sodium.

Crispy Onion Straws

At Joy Cafe, the buttermilk is seasoned with a house-made roasted red pepper and habanero hot sauce. If you’d like, you can buy a bottle at the restaurant and do the same.

Crispy Onion Straws

Canola oil, for frying

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup whole buttermilk

1 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce, depending on preference

1 small yellow onion, sliced into thin rounds and broken into rings


In a Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and basil. Put in a pie plate and set aside.

In another pie plate, stir together buttermilk and hot sauce.

Working with a handful of onion rings at a time, dip rings into flour mixture, coating on all sides, then into buttermilk mixture. Let buttermilk drip off rings, then return rings to flour mixture for final coating. Cook rings in hot oil for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Do not crowd oil. Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all onion rings are fried. Keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 4 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per 1/2 cup: 126 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 2 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 8 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 41 milligrams sodium.

From the menu of…Joy Cafe, 1100 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-996-1377,

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By Troy Warren

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