Meatloaf is not a dish we typically serve at the October Country Inn (check us out) because it seems like red meat dishes have fallen out of favor for so many. We sure like to cook it for ourselves, however.
Before we get into the preparation details–because there are so many meatloaf ingredient variations and possibilities–a brief discussion of the main components might be helpful. A meatloaf contains four basic components: ground meat, filler, liquid, and a binder that holds the whole thing together. For the ground meat, look for a prepared meatloaf mix that is as close as you can find to two parts of beef, to one part each of pork, and veal. For the filler, you want something that adds to the texture without adding a distinct flavor. Oatmeal, bread or cracker crumbs do this job well. Eggs bind everything together. Add some liquid that will moisten the loaf without adding it own distinct flavor. A dairy product like whole milk or plain yogurt is our favorite.
To cook a meatloaf, gather the following ingredients:
- 2 pounds of meatloaf mix
- 6 strips of thin-sliced bacon
- 2/3 cup of oatmeal or cracker crumbs, or 1 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup whole milk or plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup of glaze (ketchup, barbecue, or chili sauce)
After you’ve gathered all the ingredients, prepare a foil lined baking pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the chopped onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool. Mix the eggs, milk or yogurt, thyme, salt, black pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a medium bowl. Add this egg/milk mixture to the meat in a large bowl along with the crackers, oats, or bread crumbs, the sautéed onions and garlic, and the chopped fresh parsley. With wet hands, knead the whole thing together into an evenly blended lump. Fashion into a loaf of about 9 by 5 inches on the foil-lined baking sheet and lay the bacon strips crosswise over the top tucking the ends under the bottom of the loaf. Brush half the glaze over the top and bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool about 20 minutes, apply the remaining glaze, slice and serve.