3lb. lean ground beef
3T finely chopped beef suet
2 meduim-sized onions, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/2lb fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1lb. green beans, halved lengthwise and roughtly chopped
6 small, tender ribs celery with some leaves, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, coarsely grated
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2T finely chopped fresh parsley
1T finely cut fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2t dry mustard
1/3c soy sauce
2 large eggs, yolks separated from the whites
5 or 6 thin slices bacon
1 bunch watercress
Melt the suet in an iron pan and lightly brown the onions in it. Add the tomoatoes, breaking up the pulp. In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter for 4 to 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.
Place the onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, celery and carrots in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, parsley, chives and beef, and stir lightly, tossing all of these ingredients over and over until they are thoroughly mixed. Season with salt, pepper, and a good pinch of thyme leaves (no powdered thyme, please), the dry mustard, Worcestershire and soy sauce, then toss again. Set the mixture aside.
Beat the yolks of eggs lightly with the cold milk, then add to the mixture. Prepare a glass baking dish, or any suitable pan having a tight-fitting cover, by lining it on the bottom and sides with the bacon. Lastly, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold them gently into the mixture. Shape the mixture into a loaf.
The ideal setup for cooking the loaf is a large cast-iron caserole into which the baking dish, with its cover, will fit. Otherwise, cover teh dish and place it in a pan of boiling water in a hot oven, preheated to 400ºF. replenishing the water as it boils away. Bake fro about 2 hours, reducing the heat to moderate, 350ºF. after 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a roux by blending the flour and the remaining butter over gentle heat until lightly browned.
When you uncover the baking dish, you will discover that the loaf has shrunk from teh sides and is almost floating in a sea of rich, delicious sauce. Carefully drain off the sauce into a saucepan; skim off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and thicken the roux. Then turn the loaf onto an oven-proof serving dish and peel off any bacon strips sticking to the sides of the dish, replacing them on the loaf. Put the serving dish in a very hot oven, 425 to 450ºF. or under the broiler and brown the surface quickly without drying it. The bacon will dry off and crisp at the same time.
Serve in the hot dish, garnishing the loaf with a glazing of the sauce and sprigs of watercress. Pass the sauce, which will be abundant, in a heated gravy boat.