Tasty Tuesday – Meatloaf!
When it comes to meatloaf, the majority of the world’s population tends to fall into one of two camps – really like it or hate it. I don’t seem to meet very many “eh, it’s alright” kind of people, though I do know they exist… myself being one of them. So, which person are you?
Brook has been bugging me lately to make a meatloaf ever since I introduced the idea of “meatless Mondays” to him… to which he annoyingly cleverly exclaimed “Meatloaf Mondays?! What a fantastic idea! I will LOVE meatloaf Mondays!” (He knew exactly what I said, knew that what he said was precisely the opposite, and so carried on. Hmph!)
So, on Wednesday of last week (no, I will NOT compromise the new idea of meatLESS Monday night supper *fist shaking in the air triumphantly*), I made a meatloaf. Sneaky, sneaky though, I had to be. How in the world could I work some vegetables into this seemingly heavy meal, in turn making it not only lighter, but healthier and even more delicious? To the internet I went – foodgawker.com to be exact – in search of some recipes.
Don’t get me wrong, I rather enjoy a good meatloaf on a cool Fall evening with some creamy mashed potatoes and a side of steamed broccoli… but, I live in the tropics. Heavy food and a hot climate don’t always (read: hardly ever) mix well. Recipe after recipe just seemed like a minor variation on your regular, run of the mill American meatloaf… until I found it. A recipe that incorporated a TON of veggies, yet still maintains enough meat and loaf-factor to be considered a true meatloaf. A recipe that used things I already happened to have in the house, and was flexible enough to allow for creativity. The decision was made, and I moved forward. And, boy am I glad I did – I believe I’ve met my new favorite recipe (for meatloaf anyways).
I truly think this is the kind of meatloaf (isn’t loaf such a scary word? I feel like that part of the name alone lends itself to frightening people away…) that could possibly turn haters into at least kinda-likers. It’s tender, moist, flavorful, and even good cold on a bun the next day (or at midnight when you can’t get to sleep). It’s slightly crumbly, not thick and imposing like the meatloaf so many of you are afraid of. And, remember? There’s lots of veggies in it, though they are chopped up so small and cooked down enough that they’re hardly noticeable! Perfect for picky eaters, huh.
You wanna know how to make it now, don’t you? Okay, I’ll tell you. I basically looked at 3 different recipes, took what I liked from 2 and applied it to the main one (which, as the blogger who wrote about it stated herself, was her modified version of her mother-in-law’s take on a recipe from Bobby Flay). So, who knows whose it really is. It just keeps right on morphing, and you will probably help it continue along that path. Now, ready, set, go!
1. To a large sauce pan add the following and saute until tender (4-5 min):
- 1 pat of butter or 1 glug of olive oil (if not using non-stick, you may want to add a little bit more to prevent scorching)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- about 1/2 medium white or yellow onion
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 stalks celery, very finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- a dash or two of ground thyme
- salt & pepper to taste
2. Remove vegetables from heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together:
- 2 eggs
- about 1/2 – 2/3 C fresh parsley, finely chopped
4. Add the following to egg mixture, and mix until combined (be careful not to overwork the mixture – that’s what makes meatloaf tough!):
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef **
- about 1 C panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 C ketchup
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tsp hot sauce (I used garlic Tabasco)
- 2 T your favorite BBQ sauce (I used B-Dubs Honey BBQ!)
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- cooled veggie mixture
5. Once combined, form meat mixture into a loaf on a baking sheet, then whisk together the following ingredients to spread over top and sides forming a glaze:
- 1/2 C ketchup
- 2-3 T balsamic vinegar
- a couple dashes of Worcestershire
- about 2 tsp. honey (I forgot to measure, but I think that’s about right!)
- a few dashes of hot sauce
- a few cranks of cracked black pepper
6. Go ahead and place in a 400 F oven for about an hour or so, until done. Once cooked through, allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so, otherwise it will fall apart when you try to lift slices. I’m telling you, this is one moist (but NOT soggy, don’t worry!) meatloaf! I like to carefully cut my meatloaf in half (as you see below), right away, and give it some space to cool a bit quicker.
** The main recipe I started from called for 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb hot Jimmy Dean sausage, but I didn’t have any sausage, and only had just over a pound of beef in our freezer. To compensate for the loss of flavor, I ended up adding a pinch or two of dried chili flakes and some crushed fennel seeds to give it some punch. I loved it! But, if those aren’t your thing, then you don’t have to add them. I also think a bit of Parmesan added to the meat could be good, but I didn’t have any of that either… so, if you try it out, let me know how that goes!