I must be on a nostalgia kick this month but nonetheless, after finishing my earlier posts on Pot Roast (Braising) and French Onion Soup, I got to thinking that Meatloaf has GOT to be another one of THE most iconic winter comfort foods in America.
Jumping into the “way-back” time machine, I think my first encounter of meatloaf was at a Sunday dinner table one winter evening as a child.
How a “hamburger” ended up as a thick, square panel on my dinner plate with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy I’ll never know, but I remember it had a sweet glaze of ketchup, so minus the bun, we were mostly there.
I thought my mother was really onto something here.
Then, not too much later, I saw it again at a Kresge lunch counter. On “special” no less! Wait, what?
Another lesson in reality for a young boy.
But what’s good is good, and thankfully, meatloaf has been around for a long, long time.
It’s just not $.65 anymore.
Click Here to read More of my Kresge Lunch Counter Memories. Admittedly, there are so many different versions of this recipe that I’ve stopped counting and I’ve stopped critiquing
those which are different from my childhood memories or my current professional recipe repertoire.
Yet, I still prefer what I grew up on and that’s the one I’ll share with you here.
So, for those of you just arriving on the planet, you must be wondering, what exactly IS meatloaf?
In short, its ground meats, egg, breadcrumbs, some liquid, and seasonings all baked in a free-form loaf shape or loaf shaped pan, thus, meat-loaf.
What we all to personally decide is; what meats, liquids, seasonings, or additional garnishments like vegetables are in this loaf? And finally, how many eggs?
Oh….and what about this ketchup thing?
All of these variables and the amounts thereof give you a number of possible outcomes only a math whiz might cipher.
Thankfully, as well-put by an old song of Ricky Nelson, “You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”.
So, if you don’t have a favorite family recipe or this is your first “loaf”, stick with the basic recipe and please your own palate from there.
Nino’s sells a fabulous Meat Loaf by the slice and even another one, shaped as a patty, and it comes with, yes, mashed potatoes and gravy.
The recipe for that version is on Nino’s Website as well as 2 other versions (Salisbury Steaks, the same recipe in a different shape and Italian Meatloaf). ITALIAN MEATLOAF & COUNTRY MEATLOAF
Here, I’m going to share with you the recipe I grew up on and the one with Ketchup and a Ketchup Glaze.
Classic Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze
Makes One Large Meatloaf 9” x 5” x 4” or 6 Servings
1 Lb. Ground Beef (Lean)
1 Lb. Ground Pork
1 Lb. Ground Veal
2 Cups Salvaggio Dried Breadcrumbs
¼ Cup Dry Parsley Flakes
4 Ex. Large Eggs, Beaten
½ Cup Milk or Half & Half
2 Cups Onion, Chopped Fine
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, Chopped Fine
1 TBSP Fresh Garlic, Chopped
1 Cup Ketchup (I prefer Heinz)
3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
To Season Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
1 TBSP Light Brown Sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. then line a 9” x 5” x 4” loaf pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray it lightly with a non-stick vegetable spray.
2. Combine the 3 meats, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, milk onion, green pepper, garlic, 1/2 cup of the ketchup, 2 tablespoons of the Worcestershire, about 1 TBSP of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix together until well combined. It is important to knead it a bit until sticky so that the resulting baked meatloaf will not crumble when sliced.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared meat loaf pan and make a slight indentation running down the middle rather than mounding it like a finished loaf of bread. (As the meat cooks, it will rise in the center anyway). Bake the meatloaf for about 40 minutes.
4. After 30 to 35 minutes, remove the loaf from the oven. Stir the brown sugar together with the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup and 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce and brush the top and sides of the meatloaf all over with the mixture, being liberal.
5. Return the loaf to the oven and bake until the glaze starts to caramelize, and a thermometer inserted in the center of the meatloaf registers 160 to 165 F, about 25 minutes more.
6. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
· It’s best to place a second sheet pan underneath the loaf pan to prevent any juices from the loaf to make a mess of your oven.
· This recipe works equally well with 3 lbs. of ground beef or a half and half mixture of beef and pork.
· The breadcrumbs need to be the dry kind which is necessary to properly absorb the eggs and milk. You can choose between plain and Italian breadcrumbs.
· Go for it! it’s YOUR Garden Party! Create a recipe that pleases you!