Meatloaf is a funny thing. I find most people either really love meatloaf, or it makes them shiver from the memory of having to force it down as a child.
The reality is, that a good meatloaf recipe is very useful to have on hand. It often contains ingredients that we keep on hand in our pantry or refrigerator, and is a wonderful comfort food meal on a blustery winter day. I know it’s summer, but I make it quite often on a day that is too rainy for grilling.
This is a combination of the meatloaf recipe that I grew up with, combined with a few things I’ve picked up along the way. I have no measurements to give you, so I’ll try my best to guess as close as possible. The best thing to do with meatloaf is to try it, and then add your own personal touches.
1 – 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef – it really doesn’t matter how much you use as this will not have to fit in a loaf pan. If you’ve got an army to feed, use as much as you like and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
1-2 egg yolks
2 slices white bread, put to soak in milk – just put the bread in a bowl and cover them with milk.
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1/2 cup ketchup (BBQ sauce can also be used)
4 or 5 good shakes of Worchestershire sauce – be generous
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Glaze: (make according to size of loaf)
2 parts ketchup
1 part mustard
sprinkle (about 1/4 tsp) nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine meat with all ingredients. Add the bread, but not the milk. Mix together with your hands, making sure that the bread is broken up and all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Don’t overwork the mixture, or it will toughen. If you feel it needs more moisture, you can add some of the reserved milk.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Transfer meat mixture to baking sheet and form into an even log shape. Mix together ingredients for glaze and cover loaf completely.
Bake for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the loaf. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so.
Best served with potatoes – scalloped or mashed. Garlic mashed is even better.
There are so many variations you can do with this.
You can use different kinds of meat, a mixture of beef and pork, ground chicken, sausage meat mixed in, the possibilities are endless. I once saw Tyler Florence drape strips of bacon over his meatloaf, which would add amazing flavour, and prevent drying out.
If you want to go Italian style, omit the ketchup and add some of your favourite pasta sauce, bump up the Parmesan cheese, and add some Italian seasonings.
You could go southwest style and add salsa and some Cheddar cheese to the mix, using salsa as the glaze as well.
Ground turkey or chicken would be amazing with some smoky cumin or curry powder mixed in.
To kick it up a notch, fry up some onions and mushrooms until they’re caramelized and throw them in. Or serve with them drizzled on top.
So if you aren’t sure if you like meatloaf, give it a chance. Start out with a basic recipe like this one and go from there, developing it based on your tastes. There is no right or wrong! Enjoy! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments.