Should I invest in a meat grinder? I'm considering it.
I'm a big fan of a)ground meat, and b)knowing exactly what goes into my ground meat. I'm just not sure that I would use it frequently enough to justify spending money on one. Also, I would not relish cleaning it.
As applications for ground meat go, burgers are high on the list, and so are chili, sloppy joes, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, and meatloaf. The beauty of these recipes is that any type of meat works pretty much equally as well as another, so they're adaptable to what you have on hand. This day, I had chicken and wanted to make (and consume) meatloaf, so a chicken loaf was born.
I often change up the herbs I put into this dish, and the mixture usually includes both dry and fresh selections. I went with dried rosemary and fresh basil this time, mostly because I like chicken and rosemary together and am currently so obsessed with fresh basil that I'm putting it in every feasible (and sometimes unfeasible) place I can find.
This was an excellent meatloaf! It was properly herbaceous and as moist as it could possibly be without threatening to fall apart. It must be said that I don't think I'll ever use another cooking method after discovering the one described here, in which the raw loaf is broiled to brown the top and some of the glaze, and then baked the rest of the way at a normal temperature. The crust that develops under the broiler is just outstanding and the thick glaze doesn't slide off onto the pan like a thinner, much more inferior version.
I love burgers, but a meatloaf as delicious as this one makes me seriously consider calling it my favorite recipe using ground meat (and it's also a point in favor of buying a grinder!).
Loaf of Chicken
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk, plus extra as needed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Make the glaze first by whisking the ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar in saucepan until sugar dissolves. Reserve 1/4 cup glaze mixture, then simmer remaining glaze over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add the onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper together.
Mix the meat, crumbs, basil, sautéed onion mixture, and egg mixture until evenly blended and the mixture doesn’t stick to the bowl. If the mixture sticks, add additional milk, a splash at a time, until it no longer sticks.
Adjust oven racks to upper (about 4 inches away from broiler element) and middle positions and heat broiler. Transfer meat mixture to prepared baking sheet and shape into 9- by 5-inch loaf. Broil on upper rack until well browned, about 5 minutes. Brush 2 tablespoons uncooked glaze over top and sides of loaf and then return to oven and broil until glaze begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
Transfer meatloaf to middle rack and brush with remaining uncooked glaze. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until meat loaf registers 160 degrees F, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to carving board, tent with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve.