We have all had the misfortune of dining on dry, hard to swallow, meatloaf. It was a staple of weeknight meals when I was growing up. Inexpensive and filling, it fed a lot of people. It was even a choice offering for TV dinners, those frozen complete meals offered in a metal tray…just pop them in the oven and you are done! Perhaps it still is, I would not know. Julia Child coined a word for those kind of offerings, “A&P Garboozova” referencing all the god-awful grocery store items, as she called them, passing as food in America, such as, frozen dinners, margarine and Cheez Whiz. She was appalled, and understandably so, as she was preparing and feasting on things such as Boeuf Bourguignonne and Petites Crepes. Ah but I digress, back to meatloaf.
Although it may have humble beginnings it does not have to be the dreaded meal we hope never to eat again. What is it anyway? Essentially it is ground meat (such as beef, turkey, lamb, pork or veal or a combination) mixed with various seasonings and aromatics such as onion, garlic, herbs, spices and tomato. It has binding agents like egg and/or bread crumbs and is formed into a loaf and baked. It is often glazed. It can be eaten hot or cold. Every culture has its interpretation and there are a many recipes available, each with their own twist. I have three recipes of my own in my collection, all of which I developed using different ideas in hopes of coming up with perfection. I admit I really enjoy a good meatloaf once in a while but the real reason I make it is for the sumptuous meatloaf sandwich the following day. Love, love, love, a great meatloaf sandwich!
My most recent creation goes like this.
MEATLOAF # 3 Serves 6
Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis
1T extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions or equivalent, diced
2 large clove garlic, minced
1T fresh thyme, chopped
½ T fresh rosemary, chopped
2-3t sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
1T tomato paste
1/3 c chicken stock
3T Worcestershire sauce
1lb. ground beef, preferably grass-fed organic
1lb. ground pork, preferably organic
½ c panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs
¼ c chili sauce (the kind that looks like ketchup but a little tangy)
¼ c ketchup
1t jalapeno hot sauce or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the onions cook over low heat until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook until onions are translucent and garlic is soft, being careful not to burn.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add the chicken stock and Worcestershire and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Put the pork, beef, panko bread crumbs, and eggs in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture and with a fork gently combine all ingredients. Do not mash as this will make the mixture too dense. Take a small portion and fry a patty to taste for seasoning. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- In a small bowl mix the chili sauce, ketchup and hot sauce.
- Place a flat rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Lay a piece of foil on top and cut slits to allow juices to drain. Spray with non-stick spray or coat lightly with oil.
- Divide meat mixture in half. Shape into two loaves and place side by side on rack.
- Brush the tops and sides with the ketchup mixture.
- Place a pan or bowl on the rack below the meatloaf to retain moisture in the meat. Place meatloaf on rack above and bake for 1-1 ¼ hrs. or until the internal temp is 160 degrees and the meat is cooked through.
- Allow to rest, tented with foil for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
I added a little spice to the meat mixture and to the glaze which you can adjust to your taste. It came out moist and succulent with a hint of heat. Mixing it lightly with a fork keeps its texture light and sautéing the veggies takes off the sharp edges and makes the mixture very balanced. Ever have one where the taste of onion is so predominant that it overpowers? That was what I was trying to balance out and I think the result was quite satisfactory.
Let’s just talk a minute about the big pay off, the sandwich. I like mine with a bit of Dijon mustard and spicy green like arugula between a really nice roll like ciabatta or sourdough. Yum! My mouth is watering!
Simple food, UPLIFTED, is my style of cooking. Again I urge you to use the best ingredients, especially high quality meats, herbs and spices. You will taste the difference. With the exception of the love, this is not your mother’s meatloaf, all due respect to mom. Try making some soon with your own spin and of course your loving touch. Spread it, one dish at a time. Until next time, stay warm inside and out. The love is flowing from my kitchen to yours, Queen Jeanne