Meatloaf seems to be one of those love/hate foods for most people: either it’s something your mom or grandma made for you when you were a kid and it brings back fond memories of tater tots and macaroni art, or it was a dry, gray, tasteless loaf of awful that the lunch lady slapped onto your plate on “Meatloaf Mondays.” It’s not a food you’ll see on most restaurant menus, likely being deemed too “humble” for out-for-dinner diners, and it’s probably not even in your family’s regular rotation of meals, but when it’s actually prepared and cooked well, it’s really quite tasty. The recipe I used for last night’s dinner came from my On Cooking textbook from the intro. culinary arts classes I took in the fall of 2011. A bit of tomato juice keeps the meatloaf moist and a few splashes of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce give it a little kick. Cooked in the oven for an hour, this meatloaf comes out perfectly tender, and the light brushing of ketchup over the top and sides give it great flavor without excess (one of the things I used to think of when I thought about meatloaf was the obs-and-gobs of ketchup that often get mixed in—so gross!). Roasted red potatoes are a little classier than creamy mashed potatoes, and pair perfectly with the flavorful meatloaf.
|It’s kind of hard to make meatloaf look attractive, but I swear it’s delicious
Servings: 2, 9×5 loaves; Approx. 4 servings of potatoes
Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 1 large onion or 2-3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2-3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. ground beef (I usually go for 93% lean)
- 1 lb. ground meat of your choice (I used ground venison that my dad brought back from a hunting trip—very very tasty. Ground pork or ground veal would work too. Mixing meats means more flavor.)
- 3 oz. bread crumbs, fresh or dry
- 1/2 cup tomato juice (I blended up diced tomatoes because we didn’t have juice on hand)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Approx. 2-3 tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- Approx. 10-12 red potatoes, washed and cut into halves or quarters
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Ketchup, as needed
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Heat a splash of olive oil and a pat of butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion/shallot, celery, and garlic and cook until tender (approx. 5 minutes). In a large bowl, add the two meats, bread crumbs, tomato juice, egg, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and mix together until fairly evenly mixed. Add the celery, onion/shallot, and garlic to the meat mixture and mix together. Add salt and pepper, as desired (about 1 tsp. each, or more as needed), and mix. Divide the mixture up into two even batches and either form into loaves and place in ungreased loaf pans, or form into loaves and place in a large shallow pan (there needs to be a bit of an edge to it, because the loaves will release fat as they cook and that’ll drip right off a flat cookie sheet). When forming the loaves, be sure not to pack them too tightly or too loosely, and make sure there are no cracks in the loaves (cracks will inevitably cause the loaves to fall apart while baking). Brush the tops (and sides, if you’re baking in a large pan) of the loaves with ketchup. Place the potato pieces on a greased sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat (I added Penzey’s Shallot Pepper to mine because I used shallots in the meatloaf—feel free to add some dried shallots or chives, or even a few slices of fresh onion or shallot to the potatoes to add flavor). Fold the foil over to create a sealed packet for the potatoes to cook in and place the packet in the oven. Place the meatloaf in the oven. Bake for approx. 1 hour, until the meatloaf has reached an internal temperature of 165*F and the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Remove them all from the oven and let everything rest for a few minutes. Slice the meatloaf and serve alongside potatoes and any desired condiments (my dad loves mustard with his meatloaf and I like to dip mine in just a little bit of ketchup).
This dish is an easy-to-make comfort meal that kids and adults alike will enjoy. The veggies and seasoning in the meatloaf give it great flavor, while the tomato juice and ketchup “glaze” help keep it moist (and colorful!—no yucky gray meatloaf here!). Tender red potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to the meatloaf and a big ol’ glass of Coca-Cola probably wouldn’t hurt the overall meal either. As for getting two loaves with this meal, just serve one for dinner later in the week or freeze it for a month or two and enjoy it later.