A Southern Grace: mound o' meat

March 18, 2015

mound o' meat


If I think about it too much, meatloaf seems kind of disgusting. Before it's magically transformed through the power of heat into a browned, aromatic dinner delight, it is, essentially, a brick of raw cow products (or pig or bird).

Sorry, are you losing your appetite? I know the vegans and vegetarians among you are probably getting ready to move on to the next blog, and I don't blame you. Some of you, though, like the folks who proudly and excitedly order their steaks rare, might be salivating at the thought of some juicy meatloaf. I've been known to drool over the stuff too, but only when it's totally cooked...and accompanied by some extra glaze and perhaps a mound of buttery mashed potatoes.

So while the process of making meatloaf admittedly isn't my favorite, it's a classic comfort food for me and my family. I'm sure you have your go-to recipe, and this is mine. The resulting loaf doesn't have the problems often associated with a bad bake:
*The onions are cooked down so that they're soft and sweet and not bitter and distractingly crunchy.
*I learned long ago that baking in a loaf pan is a mistake--not only does it take FOREVER, but the grease sometimes comes up over the sides and into your oven! I now bake free-form on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
*The glaze is probably the most important part of a meatloaf for me, so I want it to stay put and not cascade down the sides and disappear. If you broil the meatloaf right away to create a crusty exterior and then baste throughout the process, you get a thick, tasty, present glaze.

OH, and sometimes what's even better than a chunk of meatloaf on a plate is a slice of meatloaf (or two) slathered with ketchup* and stuck between two pieces of bread as a sandwich the next day. Bon Appetit's suggestion for the ideal meatloaf sandwich may be a bit different than mine--in fact, the only thing on which we agree is the presence of salt and pepper--but to each his or her own.

*Shameless plug: Traina Sun-dried Tomato Ketchup is the perfect accompaniment. They have a Sriracha version too.

Loafed Meat
Based on a recipe from The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook
Serves 6-8
  • 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 thyme
  • 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 beef (or turkey!)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
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 thyme 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 meatloaf meat, crumbs, parsley, 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 20 minutes. Slice and serve.


~~louise~~ said...

Good morning, Grace,
Meatloaf is not one of those dishes that looks at all appetizing when being "thrown" together, I agree. However, it is to me the quintessential comfort food served with a sweet aromatic glaze.

I learned that trick about a free form pan the hard way but, as you say, it really is the best way to cook meatloaf. Not to mention you can make it any size you want.

My very best favorite way to eat meatloaf is the next day between two slices of white bread. Plain old white bread like Wonder Bread would be my preference but, I'm not sure Wonder Bread is still available. {{{sigh}}} No ketchup for me though:)

Thanks for sharing, Grace. Now I'm craving a meatloaf sandwich and it's still breakfast time!!!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love a meatloaf sandwich - it's not something I grew up with but it is definitely tasty!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great sandwich! Scrumptious.



Marcela said...

What a lovely sandwich! I love it!

Juliana said...

It is so interesting that I have never though in serving meatloaf as sandwich...looks delicious and hearty.
Hope you are having a great week Grace :)

Tania@ MyKitchen Stories said...

I agree a meat loaf is a wondrous tasty dish!

The Teacher Cooks said...

I love meatloaf and mashed potatoes! Yours looks delish!

Angie Schneider said...

Meatloaf is my husband's top favourite meal. I should cook for him more often. This is a great sandwich.

Sue/the view from great island said...

My mom made the best meatloaf sandwich in the world --- love this Grace!

Barbara said...

We're meat eaters in this house, Grace. This looks divine. I do free form too... Bill Blass's recipe from ages ago. While I don't make it often now that the kids are gone, I really should get out of my rut and try this recipe!
(Agree about peas and mint...also always think of it as British.)

Food Gal said...

Meatloaf is always pure comfort. Especially the next day, if you just munch on a slab cold in between two slices of bread. I don't make it too often, either. But when I do, it's always a crowd-pleaser.

Cathleen said...

Haha, I guess I've never thought that hard about meatloaf :p But I love it! I think my favorite way to eat it is in a sandwich :)

Pam said...

I may just make some meatloaf for dinner tonight! It looks terrific Grace.

For your glaze, is it just the ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar?

Marjie said...

I've never had a meatloaf sandwich. For many years, my menfolk have beaten me to the scant leftovers.

Erica said...

I love meatloaf! I love using my leftovers making a sandwich o to eat with arepa for an easy lunch.

Betty said...

Fact- Meatloaf is best the second day on sandwiches. :) Love the glaze- it's like the one I usually use except I add a teeeeny bit of mustard. That sandwich looks good! :)

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This sounds like the most flavorful meatloaf. I definitely have to try your way of making the glaze! To this day, I have never had a meatloaf sandwich....Guess I have been missing out!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

We didn't have meatloaf much growing up (it's not really an Aussie thing) but I really wanted to know about it because it was always on tv. Now I can say for certain that I love a glaze on a meatloaf and I love meatloaf! :D

I Wilkerson said...

If you think making meatloaf is ugly, I am about to try a liver pate. I got a lot of liver with my fall lamb so it seems like a logical thing to do (she says, trying hard to psych up).

lisa is cooking said...

I think having leftovers for sandwiches is a great motivation for making meatloaf. And, I agree about the glaze being most important!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I love meatloaf - but def prefer it with mashed potatoes instead of a sandwich. But like you said, to each her own :) This is making me very hungry for dinner now...

Katerina said...

Meatloaves used to be in fashion here in Greece in the 80's. Then they were completely forgotten. It is truly a family meal and it can be eaten by anyone in the family from the tiny ones to grown ups! You reminded me of how comforting it is!