A Traditional Approach To a Favorite Dish
- Servings: Makes one 9 by 5-inch loaf or about 6 servings.
When I was a kid, I never liked meatloaf because I had a problem with the bits of undercooked onion that I'd invariably find. Although I wasn't normally a fussy eater, I'd annoy my mother by picking through the meat, trying to remove the small onion pieces that I thought interfered with the meat's smooth texture.
I later learned how I could avoid this problem and make a fully smooth meatloaf by pre-cooking any vegetables, especially the onion, before adding them to the ground meat. This way the meatloaf gets the flavor without the rawness -- a method from the smart people at Cook's Illustrated.
This recipe combines a classic meatloaf mix -- meaning one-third each of ground beef, pork and veal -- with bread crumbs, egg, and seasoning. But it can be made with all ground beef. We offer two glazes to put on top before baking: either a classic brown sugar sweetened ketchup glaze or a slick of a kicking New Orleans BBQ sauce.
- 2 pounds in total ground meat: a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal (2/3 pound of each)
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 2/3 cup)
- 2 small carrots (when chopped, equivalent to 2/3 cup)
- 2 stalks celery (when chopped, equivalent to 2/3 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 drops Tabasco, Crystal Hot Sauce or other favorite hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- In a food processor, add the pieces of bread that you've torn into pieces. Pulse to make bread crumbs. Remove from the food processor and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Using the same food processor (no need to clean the basket), finely chop the carrot, celery and garlic, cutting them almost into a paste so that the pieces are very tiny.
- If the onion has not been cut into a very small dice, add the cut onion and continue processing so that everything is in tiny pieces.
- In a large skillet, add the olive oil and finely chopped carrot, celery, garlic and onion and cook about 10 minutes on a moderate heat until soft and cooked through, but do not brown them. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.
- In the large mixing bowl in which you've placed the fresh bread crumbs, add the ground meats and using a fork or your clean hands, combine the meats and bread crumbs.
- Stir the egg a bit so that the yolk and white combine and add to the meat and bread crumb mixture.
- Add the slightly cooled cooked vegetables and combine.
- Add the salt, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and combine well.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan or else line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil on which you place mixture and shape it into a 9 by 5-inch loaf.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the loaf with a thin coating of either our Brown Sugar and Ketchup Glaze (see below) or Larry Eustis's BBQ Sauce (see the link to this recipe).
- Bake in the oven for about one hour, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160º F using an instant meat thermometer.
- Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes after removing from the oven.
Brown Sugar and Ketchup Glaze
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Combine ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.
- Brush on top of the meatloaf prior to baking.