In Part 1 of our Q + A with Cracker Barrel line cook Dan Keller, we heard about life as a chef in the kitchen of a corporate diner (read: no chef degree required), Paula Deen's latest cash cow (casino buffets, just what we need more of), and how to avoid turning your Saturday brunch into a Hell's Kitchen nightmare.

Today, Keller is giving us his current favorite meatloaf recipe. Simple as that. Turn the page for the recipe. Thank you, Dan!

When we asked Keller for a recipe, he was wary. “Well, I am a breakfast person. I like to experiment with various omelets, really. I'll put everything including the kitchen sink on an omelet… like something special for the holidays using allspice and nutmeg. And you can top it off with cranberries. Right now I'm using a lot of pumpkin paste. I use it in pancakes, use it in waffles.”

Though cranberry and pumpkin omelets sound intriguing, we couldn't quite picture (or taste) them without a test kitchen So we went with Keller's meatloaf recipe below.

East Tennessee Meatloaf

Note: Adapted from Dan Keller, who prefers high-fat beef (“It enhances flavor”). You need to make the glaze before the meatloaf finishes baking. “Since East Tennessee is so diverse in its ethnicity, I use the following old southern recipe that is kicked up to include various ethnic spices,” he says.

Serves: 5 to 6

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 finely chopped onion

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 can tomato sauce

1 small can tomato paste

2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add the spices to the beef, blending well. Shape the mixture into a loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.

2.After the meatloaf has cooled slightly, flip the pan upside down, holding the meatloaf in the pan, and strain the jus from the pan. Remove the fat with a fat separator (or in a saucepan). Transfer to a small saute pan and add the tomato paste.

3. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf and return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

LA Weekly