MeatLoaf – The Quintessential Comfort Food

meatloaf

Served with string beans, dal and mushroom gravy. Hubby wanted gravy, but the meatloaf is so moist it is unnecessary. I would keep the sauteed mushrooms. They were delish with it.

Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food. Inexpensive and easy to make,  a well seasoned meatloaf with that sweet-savory glaze, is one of my family’s favorite dinners. The leftovers also make great sandwiches, which is why, when I do make it, it is in effect a double recipe.

Mixing all the add-ins together first keeps it tender, using a casserole dish rather than a loaf pan gives it more surface area to brown, slow baking it keeps it juicy.

Quintessential Meatloaf

A lot of umami in the seasonings adds to the comforting  richness of the meatloaf

A lot of umami in the seasonings adds to the comforting richness of the meatloaf

Serves 8-10
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion, about 1 1/2 C
2 eggs
2 Tb tomato paste or ketchup
1 Tb soy sauce*
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 C breadcrumbs or combination of breadcrumbs and uncooked oatmeal
1 t dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tb brown mustard*
2 t shiitake powder
2 t Montreal steak seasoning
2 – 2 1/2 lb ground meat, turkey, beef, pork, meatloaf mix or any combo
10 – 16 ounces frozen chopped spinach defrosted and drained

3 Tb barbecue sauce
1 Tb brown mustard

Turn your food processor on. Drop the garlic cloves in.

Meat Loaf Garlic

Dropping the garlic into the running food processor first avoids those big chunks you get left with

They chop into smaller pieces this way. Add the eggs and everything EXCEPT the meat and spinach to the food processor.

meatloaf

Combining everything except the meat first means you don’t have to mix as much to get a uniform mixture which results in a more tender meatloaf. Don’t forget to scrap down the sides first.

Pulse until it is finely chopped and well blended.  Combine that mixture with the meat and spinach and gently mix together.  Lightly grease an 8″ X 12″ (or 9″ x 13″, which is a way more common size) pan.  Mine is cast iron, but pyrex or ceramic is fine.

Meatloaf

The molded meatloaf. The larger surface area allows more browning and more flavor development. Notice how the edges are slightly away from the pan.

Place the meatloaf mixture in the pan and gently form it so it is away from the sides of the pan and has a mounded appearance.  I sometimes feel like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of a Third kind while I am getting the meatloaf into the shape I want.  Combine the bbq sauce and mustard.  Set aside.

Bake the meatloaf in a 325° F oven for about 30 minutes then glaze with the bbq mixture.  Take its temperature while you have it out.  The full baking time will depend on your oven, the thickness of the meatloaf and the type of pan you use.  Because I use a cast iron pan, the temperature of the meatloaf will continue to rise after I take it out of the oven more so than if I used a pyrex or aluminum pan which cools a lot faster.  You want the final internal temperature to be 165°F.  I do about 160°F with the cast iron pan. It could take another 15 minutes to a half an hour until it is done.

Deliciousness is here for all to enjoy - the quintessential comfort food

Deliciousness is here for all to enjoy – the quintessential comfort food

Remove it from the oven and let it rest 10-15 minutes so it absorbs back some of the juices it released. One of the things I love about the cast iron is that I can let it rest for a good 20 minutes and because of the heat storing properties of the cast iron.  This gives me plenty of time to finish up my side dishes.   The family likes me to serve the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas.  Some ketchup mixed with sriracha is the perfect condiment.

* for Passover you can use 3/4 C matzo meal and of course no pork. Alter your condiments as you see fit. I just avoid bread and non KFP wheat products during Passover, so the mustard and soy doesn’t bother me. Please do what makes you comfortable.


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