To make the onion confit, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, olive oil, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until onions are soft and stewing in their own juices. Stir occasionally to make sure onions aren’t cooking too quickly or starting to brown. Once onions are soft, remove the lid and continue cooking slowly, stirring occasionally and all the moisture evaporates and onions begin to darken in color. Remove thyme sprigs and discard. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Break ground beef and veal up into small pieces. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover the breadcrumbs with the milk and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze the breadcrumbs between your hands and add to the meat, along with the egg, garlic, herbs, ketchup, cheese and the reserved onions. Mix with your hands to evenly distribute. To test for seasoning, heat a small skillet over high heat. Add a tablespoon or so of the mixture to the skillet and flatten. Cook on both sides until cooked through. Taste for seasoning and re-adjust seasoning of the mixture with salt and pepper if necessary. Place meat mixture into a 9 ½ inch loaf pan. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 1- 1 ¼ hours until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 140°F. Remove from the oven and allow to rest while preparing the rest of the recipe.
To make the gravy, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and mushrooms to the pan and cook until mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown. Add the chopped shallot and garlic and cook for a minute to soften. Add the Madeira and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat. In a small saucepan melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for a couple minutes without letting the mixture darken. Remove from the heat. Place the broth in saucepan. Bring to a simmer and whisk in the flour, butter mixture. Continue whisking until mixture begins to thicken. Lower heat, add the mushrooms and herbs and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice meatloaf 1/2 inch slices and arrange on serving platter. Then spoon gravy over and serve.
Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Merlot.