No don’t run away. Please!
This post was inspired by my friend Brian who, with the air of a man heading to the executioner, told me that he was going to his parent’s to eat meatloaf. There is perhaps no other main dish so maligned in all of culinary history as the meatloaf (fruitcake takes the um…cake as the most hated dish in history.) But it does not have to be that way. You like hamburgers, right?
Meatloaf, if done properly, is just the greatest hamburger you’ve ever had. Baked, not fried.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 pinch of red pepper flake
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, sliced
- 1 half of a red bell pepper, diced into quarter inch pieces
- 4 slices of white bread
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground veal (if you don’t eat veal, use dark turkey meat)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the red pepper flake and the minced garlic. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the onions, celery, red pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the onions become translucent. This will take perhaps 10 minutes.
- Take the skillet off the heat and let the veggies cool completely.
- Tear the bread into small pieces or chop with a knife. Put into a large mixing bowl and pour milk over the bread. If the bread can absorb more milk, add more in 1/4 cup increments.
- Add all three types of meat, the vegetables, the breadcrumbs, and both eggs to the bowl and mix. Hands work best here, so you may want to buy some latex gloves.
- Once mixed, let sit for about for five minutes on the counter. This lets the bread crumbs absorb all the other flavors.
- Here’s the fun part. Most people would drop the meatloaf into a pan and cross their fingers. Not you! (I think Alton or Emeril taught me this.) Take a tablespoon of meatloaf and make a patty out of it. Put the patty into a skillet and fry it like a hamburger.
- Taste the patty. If the mixture needs more seasoning, add it now. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you are satisfied with your meatloaf.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Put the mixture into a loafpan and spread a liberal coating of ketchup over the top. (Even with the quality ingredients in the loaf, the best part of meatloaf is still the ketchup.) Bake for 20 minutes and then start checking for doneness every 5 minutes.
- Enjoy meatloaf well done!
Keep in mind, this is not health food. This is a timeless classic dish that is in dire need of a shot in the arm. And don’t forget the ketchup. As a tinkerer, I have tried to create other tomato based sauces to put on top the meatloaf and everytime I go back to good ol’ ketchup.