meatloaf image
Heirloom Recipe,  Ulam | Main Dishes

Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf is a dish whose visibility is considerably higher in real life—especially in North America and Britain—than in cookbooks. (Maybe because it doesn’t have a French name?) The use of “loaf” is particularly appropriate as most recipes include bread, usually in the form of soft breadcrumbs. Also, it is shaped like a loaf and is usually baked in a bread/loaf pan. 

A worthy dish, meatloaf embodies the sort of rusticity which the word “peasant” evokes rather than the kind of refinement associated with haute cuisine. Well it is, as meatloaf evokes country home goodness, a dish that grandmothers and mothers cook on a day-to-day basis rather than for special occasions.

My recipe for meatloaf traces its roots to a cookbook that my father gave my mother in the early 1960s, Lea and Perrins’ “Dishes Men Love.”Unfortunately, the cookbook—along with another memorable book “Complete Songs of the Beatles”—got lost (pinag-interesán, as we say in Pilipino; loosely translated, someone took interest in them) during my forgettable five-year stay in my husband’s house in Pasig. Every time I cook this dish, I cannot help but pine for those two lost books—and invariably stew inside me.But I just couldn’t let go of my favorite meatloaf. I reconstructed the recipe from considerable research in various cookbooks, publications, and on-line sources, as directed by taste-memories of the original dish. The bacon helps keep the meatloaf moist, a key concern and one of the reasons that I always cook this dish in a bain-marie. The meat mixture can be spooned into a loaf pan or formed into a loaf shape and placed on a baking pan. I like to use a regular loaf pan and/or mini loaf pans. Sometimes I bake it all in mini loaf pans for single serve portions.

ketchup glazed meatloaf slicing

Meatloaf

Meatloaf evokes country home goodness, a dish that grandmothers and mothers cook on a day-to-day basis rather than for special occasions. 
Servings 1 regular sized loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 1 c milk
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t salt
  • {¼ t ground pepper}
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 k ground round
  • ¼ k ground pork
  • ½ c chopped onion
  • {¼ c finely chopped carrot}
  • 2 T butter
  • 10 strips bacon

Gravy

  • juices from meatloaf
  • ½ c butter
  • 2 T crushed garlic
  • ½ c finely minced onion
  • 2 beef bouillons or 4 T gravy mix
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t soy sauce or Kitchen Bouquet
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t sugar
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 T flour

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and ground pepper. Cut off and discard bread crusts; cut bread into cubes; soak in milk mixture for 15 minutes.
  • To milk mixture, add ground meats, onion, and carrot. Knead to combine thoroughly.
  • Butter sides and bottoms of a large (9¼” L x 5¼“ W x 2¾“ H) loaf pan. Take bacon slices and place them across the pan, slightly overlapping, to line the bottom and sides.
  • Pack meat mixture into pan. Fold the ends of the bacon strips up and over the ground meat mixture. Top with more bacon strips, if necessary.
    meatloaf ready to bake image
  • Place the loaf pan in a larger baking or roasting pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour (30 minutes for mini meat loaves).
  • Remove the foil and continue to bake 30 minutes (15 minutes for mini meatloaveor until an instant read thermometer registers 165˚ F.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven. Carefully pour the juices out of the pan; set aside. Invert onto a grooved cutting board. Let meatloaf rest about 10 minutes before slicing, otherwise the slices will fall apart. Let the juices redistribute and solidify.
  • Using a sharp serrated knife, slice meatloaf into desired thickness. Serve hot or cold, with pan juices or gravy and desired sides.

Gravy

  • In skillet over medium heat, melt the ½ cup of butter; sauté garlic and onion. Add reserved pan juices as well as any more juices that have collected in the cutting board. Add bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or Kitchen Bouquet, salt, and sugar. Keep mixture at a simmer, uncovered, stirring every now and then.
  • In a skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and stir to make a smooth paste (this is called a roux).
  • Add roux a little at a time to garlic-onion mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture is thick and smooth.
    meatloaf gravy image

Notes

* Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables (broccoli, beans, or asparagus}, and a Merlot.
* You can make meatloaf either in a loaf pan or free-form. Free-form meatloaves have a crust all around; loaf-pan meatloaves have a more "steamed" texture. It's strictly a matter of preference.
* Bake in mini loaf pans (5¾” L x 3” W x 2-1/8” H) for individual servings. Or shape meat mixture into 5-inch long loaves. Cut bacon slices to drape over each loaf—about 4 half slices for each mini meatloaf. Pack them tightly on the meat to keep them moist. Bake them on a rack over a cookie sheet to catch the drippings. Less mess this way. Bake at 350° F for about 35 to 45 minutes. Then turn up your oven to broil and crisp the bacon for 2 minutes. Temperature should reach 160. Let rest about 10 minutes on cutting board before slicing.
* Or bake them in muffin pans. Roll the meat mixture into a ball-like shape that fits into your muffin pan. Grab a slice of bacon, or half a slice if your bacon is particularly long, and wrap the meatloaf with it. Then put it into the pan. Bake at 350° F for 12 minutes. Then turn up your oven to broil and crisp the bacon for 2 minutes. Turn out micro-mini-meatloaves onto serving platter. Try to see if you can wait a few minutes for the meatloaves to stand before popping them into your mouth.
* If you prefer to have your garlic, onion, and carrot well-cooked, sauté them in butter or olive oil before kneading into meat mixture.
* Substitutes: 1 cup of dry breadcrumbs for the white bread (use soft breadcrumbs for a moister meatloaf); ½ cup of rolled oats for half of the breadcrumbs; water, stock, cream, wine, or condensed onion or cream of mushroom soup for the milk.
* For more flavor and a juicier meatloaf, add ¼ cup of ketchup or tomato juice for each pound of meat.
* Replace some of the meat—up to ¼ kilo—with 1 cup of finely minced mushroom.
* Add a cup of grated or shredded cheese to the meatloaf and top with more cheese about 10 minutes before it's done.
* Make the finished meatloaf extra fancy by frosting with mashed potatoes and topping with cheese; return to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted.
* Use leftovers sliced in sandwiches or crumbled in sauces or chili.

One Comment

  • Norman Tarwater

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