The Famous Meatloaf

I’ve been eating Chicken Biryani for a few days and feel the need to come back to basics tonight.  Not much more basic than meatloaf and a few folks have been asking for this recipe.  Also, it’s time to start using some of the things I’ve been stocking in the freezer.  So tonight I can take a pound of beef, a pound of pork, a bag of broccoli and a container of collards off of the freezer inventory.

Meatloaf is a really wonderful food.  It has a thousand variations.  It’s a terrific entrée and then makes a great sandwich.   It freezes and reheats well.  Good stuff.  My usual meatloaf includes two kinds of meat and two kinds of cheese.  That makes it four kinds of yummy.  Like most people I don’t measure and I work with what I have in the kitchen so it’s a little different each time.  Tonight is my first meatloaf using the pasture raised meats.  My instruction from the farmers is to cook pasture/farm raised beef and pork at a lower temperature and for less time than commercially raised meat.  I reduced the temperature to 325 degrees and the cooking time from 60 to 50 minutes.  I used the Corningware loaf pans that many of us grew up with.  These undoubtedly came from my mom’s house and thus are actually the ones I grew up with.

As I mentioned in a previous post, meat you buy at the farmers’ market comes frozen solid.  In addition to requiring a bit of planning to use it, it poses one other issue.  You can’t use only part of the package.  Once the meat is thawed you have to cook it.  You can’t re-freeze it raw.  So, tonight since I needed beef and pork, and they don’t come in packages smaller than one pound, I had two pounds of meat.  At my house that equals two loaves.  Of course you could make one meatloaf and then cook the other meat for tacos or to use for spaghetti sauce or chili.  Once it’s cooked you can re-freeze it.

Tonight’s effort was one of my best ever.  I have no doubt that has everything to do with the quality of the meat.  Makes sense, huh.  Just a few tips.  Cook the onions until they begin to brown before you mix them in.  It gives a depth of flavor and softens their texture. Do them ahead so they have time to cool. If you put them in hot they may scramble the egg.   Also, mix this with your hands.  This will keep the mixture loose. That’s another reason to do the onions ahead. If they’re hot you won’t be able to handle the mixture. You don’t want to knead it too much or, like bread dough, it will toughen.  This is a great time to get your kids involved if you want.  They’ll love the mixing and little hands will keep the elements from over-mixing.  Feel free to substitute ground chicken or turkey for one of the meats, but just one.  There is flavor in a little fat so some beef or pork makes all the difference.  Throw in some parsley if you have it, dried or fresh.  Use a flavored bread crumb if that’s what you have.  Use parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella if you prefer.  Have a little fun with it.  But I can tell you that tonight’s meatloaf is something I’d repeat exactly if I could!

Good? You have no idea how good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Not sophisticated, but they’ll love it.
Special shopping? Nope.

The recipe below has been adjusted to make just one loaf and the measurements other than the meat and eggs are approximate.

The Famous Meatloaf

Ingredients

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg
1 medium onion, diced and sauteed
1/2 C sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 C mozzarella, shredded
1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
1/4 C oats
2 T ketchup
2 T dijon mustard
More ketchup and mustard for the top

Directions

Dump everything in a large bowl and mix with your hands until mixture is just incorporated. Press lightly into a loaf pan. Top with more ketchup and dijon. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let it sit 10 minutes before you cut and serve.

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